So, Google Allo has launched and the Internet is currently on fire.
The great majority of Google fans are disliking the app, although it isn’t really the app fault. What we are seeing now is Google changing from an “All-in-one” mentality, combining it all on poor old Hangouts, to using a triad of apps: Messenger (for SMS), Duo (for Video-Chat) and Allo (for Text/Chat). While I don’t find this completely bonkers and, quite frankly, wouldn’t mind changing from one app to three different ones, I really don’t think that they fulfil all the needs that I have in the first place and, as such, I’m currently tied to Hangouts. Some thoughts:
Duo is brilliant. Much simpler to use that Hangouts was, regarding Video. I installed it on all the members of my close family and use it regularly, even with people that would be a major pain in my ass to get them to video chat on Hangouts.
Allo is interesting, yes, but it’s just what I thought it would be: a WhatsApp clone. And, as such, it is currently missing two main features that make it “dead-on-arrival” for me:
- multi-device – I carry an iPhone and a Nexus with me all the time; not being able to reach out to either one of them to continue a conversation is a major no-no.
- web/desktop client – Not having the ‘chat’ synced and accessible on my desktop/my several laptops is a big deal for me; and quite seriously, Google not having a web-app for one of its services is just strange.
That being said, Hangouts is still here, so there’s no real point in bashing an app just because I don’t fit its target audience. But I think that Google, with all its ambitions, should really, really think this through and, sooner rather than latter, present a unified bet on the “messaging” business, that could satisfy all its users, much like (don’t make me say it) Apple does at the moment. Maybe then it can sell its Pixel phones and Chromebooks, and (really) compete on the major leagues of mobile and ‘desktop’.