I'm trying to make sense of the emotions that have overwhelmed me since Google demoed Allo and Duo at Google I/O this year. It's a mixture of frustration, anger, despair, and disappointment.
Allo and Duo are beautiful applications. They are the kind of applications only Google can deliver. They show off Google's unique strengths in search, machine learning, artificial intelligence, neural networking, data mining, software and cloud services. They show how Google can use its endless well of data about places, people and things to deliver services and delightful experiences that puts it in a league of its own.
There's a problem, though. These apps, beautiful as they may be, are completely and utterly unnecessary. They are a sad waste of rare talent, resources and opportunity.
Google, please come to the front of the congregation. This is an intervention. You have a problem and we need to talk. Google, you don't need new messaging apps. In fact, you need to do the opposite. You need to consolidate your messaging efforts. No, Google, I'm not gonna tell my friends and family to install yet another messaging app from you.
Even if I wanted to, I can't find the courage to. I told them GTalk was the one. I told them Google Waves was the one. I told them Google Buzz was the one. I told them Google Messenger was the one. I told them Google Voice was the one. I told them Hangouts was the one. At this point, I'm embarrassed for you and for myself. Sorry, but I have shame. I can't do this anymore. There's no way in hell I'm telling them Allo and Duo are the ones.
What's even more frustrating is that Google has the solution to its messaging woes right under its nose. Hangouts! Unfortunately, it's too afflicted with a chronic case of ADHD to realise it.
Google, as far as I'm concerned, and given their software and cloud services prowess, as well as their dominance in mobile and on the web, is the only company that can deliver the universal messaging platform. So, what does this platform entail?
- Text messaging (does RCS make sense here?);
- SMS/MMS messaging;
- Audio messaging;
- Video messaging; and
- Google Voice integration.
Unique Google features:
- Google Assistant;
- Seamless integration with Google services (GMail, Inbox, Photos, Drive, Docs, Keep, G+, etc).
- Open Web;
- Android; and
Form factor support:
- Smartwatch (Android Wear);
- Phone (Android, iOS);
- Tablet (Android, iOS);
- Desktop (Chrome, Chrome OS);
- TV (Android TV);
- Cast (Chromecast); and
- Google Home.
- Open APIs for developers; and
- End-to-end encryption.
This is it, Google. This is the universal messaging platform we wanted you to create. This is what we need from you. Not Allo, not Duo, but Google Hangouts. You heard that right, Google. A refined, refocused and reimagined Hangouts is what we need from you with these features baked in.
The answer to your messaging woes is Hangouts. And it's time you pulled your head out of your ass, screwed it back on, and got serious about fixing its ailing problems due to neglect, a lack of discipline, and a lack of focus.
Or I will defect to the dark side, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Ugh, I think I just threw up a little.