Google's selection of message apps has always been chaotic. Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Wave, Google+ Hangouts, the version of Hangouts as a supported SMS list is long and unnecessarily complicated.
However, in 2016, the company managed to simplify the offer of two services, Allo and Duo, designed for message and video calls, respectively. Duo has been a fun success and is now available on a wide range of platforms, including iPads, Android tablets, Chromebooks and smart monitors. Allo has meanwhile struggled to collect users away from established messaging applications like iMessage and Facebook Messenger.
I think the problem is triple.
Firstly, people are rooted in their favorite reports. In the UK, Whatsapp governs overall. Birthdays, weddings, hungover Sunday league football matches ̵
Another problem is visibility. I can not remember a single magazine or billboard ad that revolved around Allo. Had the company paid for a few TV sites, like Facebook, it might have gone a bit better in app charts. Nor can I think of a conference segment (beyond the app's Google I / O 2016 coverage) that focused on new features or reminded people about giving it a whirl. No wonder, Allo has barely been in public awareness.
So what does Google do now?
The company focuses on Android Messages, an app that uses a communications protocol called Rich Communications Services (RCS). Ideally, people can use the app to send text, GIF, and link previews to each other, just like Allo and other smart messaging applications. RCS requires that OEM and carrier support to work, however. If someone is missing a piece of this elaborate technology puzzle game, the app is standard for SMS standard.
"We've been working closely with the mobile industry to upgrade SMS so people across the world can easily enjoy group chat, share high-resolution images, and get readers on any Android device," said Matt Klainer, VP of Consumer Communication Products.  Alerts are preloaded on many Android phones, which gives Google a massive installation base to build.
The problem is that RCS support is still uneven. Google has won over a number of phone manufacturers, including Samsung, Huawei and LG. , and some heavyweight carriers, including AT & T, Sprint and Verizon, but that's not enough. I currently use a OnePlus phone and a three SIM card in the UK – none of them supports RCS. At the time of writing, Vodafone the only British network that supports the protocol. In order to buy into Google's new vision, I had to change carrier and persuade almost everyone I know to do the same. , but it does not happen.
The slow recording is not entirely Google's mistake. But with Allo at the extinction limit, the company gives me two sincere garbage options: SMS, or an aging Hangouts app that will eventually be divided into some clear enterprise, education and government-focused products. Yes, no, please.
Google's new selection will be easier, but not necessarily better. There is of course a chance that each operator and OEM will add RCS support before March 2019, making Messages a viable option. However, the recording of the last seven months does not fill me with confidence. If RCS is a niche, I must stick to Whatsapp to communicate with most. It's too bad because I liked Allo and think that a semi-popular, Google-run messaging app might be good for the broader industry. It would give Apple and Facebook some needed competitions in the West, at least.
For the longest time I have said, "One day Google will figure this out." After all, the company has infinite resources and the largest mobile operating system on the planet. In the end, it will build something that clicks with people, right? However, these days I'm not sure that ever will.