If you’ve been using Google’s messaging app, Allo, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about switching to something else. The app isn’t getting dropped in a Google-style “Spring Cleaning,” but development on the app is being “paused.” Specifically, the new head of the communications group at Google, Anil Sabharwal, has made the decision to “pause investment” in Allo and move that team over to focus on Android Messages.
As we explain in our exclusive feature, the move is necessary because Google is going all in on Rich Communication Services, or RCS. The service will be branded “Chat” once carriers launch it, and Google wants to apply as many resources as possible to make sure that this time, finally, Android has a successful messaging app.
Basically, not enough people downloaded and used Allo, so it doesn’t make sense to continue to try to make it a viable competitor to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Here’s how Sabharwal characterizes the decision:
The product as a whole has not achieved the level of traction we’d hoped for. [...] We set out to build this thing, that it [would be] a product that we would get hundreds of millions of people to get excited about and use. And where we are, we’re not feeling like we’re on that trajectory.
If you’re an Allo user, the app will continue to function, and the company is “continuing to support” it in some capacity. Google hasn’t made any final determinations about what to do with the app. “We want to do right by users. We want to make the right decisions here, and we don’t want to rush anything,” Sabharwal says. The urgent need was bringing that team over to support Android Messages, and so that’s happening “immediately.”
From Google’s perspective, Sabharwal says that his team is “giving ourselves the time to think of what the right next steps are.” As for what’s next for Allo from your perspective, I recommend you start asking your pals what they’d like to switch to.
If you’re wondering if this bodes ill for Duo, the video chat app that launched alongside Allo, I think it’s a different story. Google is happy with its growth and its pickup among both Android and iPhone users, so it’s likely going to stick around.
For more on what’s actually going on with Google messaging, check out our full story here.