It was the first product enabled for the Google Assistant. It was supposed to be Google’s messaging application to take off. And, it was very fun to use.
I’m talking about Allo, the messaging application Google launched in September 2016. I was able to test it before it was published, and I found the application fun, the design was clean and useful, thanks to Allo’s integrated access. to the Google assistant. You could make emojis to your image and customize them, and you could send large or small messages to evoke the tone in conversations. These and many other reasons were enough for me to convince everyone in my life, my girlfriend, my friends and my brothers, to change Allo (and they did). And since then, all of us have been using it to chat with each other.
But then, on March 13, 2019, Google disconnected and the fun ended. Allo is now officially dead, joining numerous applications in the sky of Google applications.
So, why would Google close what I think is the best messaging application in years? While it is known that Google suspends applications and services that are no longer viable, the tracking of Allo was small and Google has another strategy for messaging applications. However, do away with an application that I love, and make others love things.
It is difficult to ask someone to change to a new messaging application; People like what they know. It is a problem that Google has been dealing with for years while trying to attract users of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, with six or more messaging services, to create an Apple iMessage equivalent for Android. But the writing was on the wall long before Google announced it would close Allo: the application never attracted enough people to use it.
But I was able to convince some people with whom I speak, with whom I talk more, to use the Google application instead of Facebook Messenger. Was I desperately looking for an alternative? Yes, the Facebook Messenger ads made me angry, and the giant push in Snapchat-like stories, which do not bother me, did not help. And at that time, the design of Messenger left a lot to be desired (the new redesign is excellent, especially with the dark mode, but the ads are still present and are very annoying).
My friends and family were pleasing me? Probably. But for a short period of time, they thoroughly enjoyed many of the features of Allo’s marquee, such as asking Google Assistant questions in the middle of conversations, enlarging or miniaturizing messages to get comedic or dramatic effects, and sending selfie stickers to have fun. . Our most used function in the application was the ability to create and send GIF files quickly at the touch of a button, it was an easy way to share a fragment of our lives.
“Do you use Allo?” It was not uncommon to make sarcastic comments like that when people saw me using the application. But all these features made it very fun to use, and then came the web application, which finally helped Allo take off his wings (let’s be honest, the web application should have arrived on launch day).
As someone who constantly exchanged phones for a living, Allo was the only application that needed special attention. I had to make sure to back up my conversations in Google Drive, before exchanging SIMs and activating Allo on the new phone (his account was linked to the device), all to make sure that my conversations were re-established. I only needed to do this with Allo, since almost all the other applications automatically transferred my conversations without any problem. But, it was worth the extra effort.
I’m a little surprised how disappointed and sad I feel about not being able to use Allo again. Well designed applications that offer genuine value can have an emotional weight, and I have not found an alternative messaging application that has me as enamored as Allo. In its essence, the characteristics mentioned above are what made me value it with great respect.
It’s a similar story with Google’s Inbox by Gmail, which is also closing this month. I have been using Inbox as my default email application since 2015, and its main features are what keep me so connected. You can set reminders based on location; the application groups the emails so that the email is more visual (for example, “Trip to Lisbon”); You can postpone emails for another time or place. Some of these features are now integrated into Gmail, and there are rumors that Google is testing other features of the Inbox in Gmail for Android. I have already gone on to use Gmail full time, mainly because I am happy with the redesign of the application and because I hope that all the functions that I loved in the inbox will soon reach Gmail. But that’s not the case with Allo, the features that I love may not appear in other places.
It’s a good time to point out that the applications that I seem to be hanging from are Google; The company is known for closing applications not long after its introduction. I do not have any animosity towards Google, but I probably should have learned that my lesson would never get too attached to a Google application. This tweet probably best describes how I feel.
My friends, my family and I are now using Android Messaging, the default text messaging app on most Android phones. It’s not as fun or quirky as Allo. I also try to enlarge my messages in conversations, just to disappoint me, it’s not a function. However, I like the minimalist design of the application and I maintain some hope since Google said that it is “working to bring your favorite functions to the Messaging application”.
Google’s messaging strategy now revolves around chat, a new messaging protocol (Rich Communication Services) incorporated into Android messages. It will bring the functions you will normally find in instant messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger and Allo to traditional text messages, such as reading receipts, the ability to send high quality photos, writing indicators and more. But Google chat requires the support of all operators so that the functions work perfectly for everyone. It may take some time before Android messages become as feature rich as Allo.
But I’ll just have to wait. And in the meantime, it’s time to uninstall Allo. Before doing so, here are some snippets of app reviews in the Google Play Store. I do not know how true some of these notes are, but it sounds like I’m not in the minority.