Google pauses Allo development for Chat; will they finally win us over?

When Google launched Allo in September 2016, they were optimistic that they would finally break the jinx of past failures like Google Voice, Google Talk & Google Hangouts but the smart messaging app is getting dropped in favor of Android’s Messages which is to support a Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services (RCS) based service called Chat and include features like read receipts, live typing indicators group texts, high-resolution images/videos & Google Assistant integration.

RCS is an upgrade of the Short Messaging Service (SMS) but Chat -like SMS- lacks end-to-end encryption. Google plans to make their partners and carriers switch to Chat-enabled messaging clients which will be backward compatible with SMS/MMS such that non-Chat enabled clients will send and receive messages via standard SMS when interacting with Chat-enabled clients. The ultimate goal is to have Chat Messaging Service (which sends messages over the internet and will feature a Desktop client) replace the Short Messaging Service.

The Allo Team will be moved over to focus on Android’s default messaging client Messages after Google admitted that Allo didn’t hit the level of adoption they’d hoped for and therefore isn’t a strong competitor to the likes of Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. The Allo app will however continue to function till Google decides what to do with it. Duo on the other hand seems to be doing well.

On a personal note, I’ve not sent an SMS in ages because its pretty limited in functionalities and costs more per message but with SMS getting a face-lift via Google’s Chat, I just might give that a shot once more.