Google kills Allo sooner than it will kill(?) Hangouts

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While Google has confirmed that it would be offloading users of its classic Hangouts client over to its current Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat bifurcation for enterprise, it had yet to talk about the chat app it debuted in March of last year.

Earlier in the day, a source to 9to5Google claims that Google Allo’s shutdown is imminent though its announcement may have been pushed back because of the same publication’s earlier reportage of rumors of the Hangouts shutdown. Late tonight, Google confirmed Allo’s end of life. It’s scheduled to go down in March, just the same time as social network Google+ is expected to close service.

Ever since Allo product head Amit Fulay took a job at Facebook in January, Google essentially put Allo in stasis. The last major version upgrade took place that month. In April, vice president of Chrome, communications and Photos Anil Sabharwal said that it would be “pausing investment” in Allo.

Since then, it’s being reported that most of the development team was recommissioned to bring over some of the rich messaging features from Allo over to Messages, Android’s SMS app that was slowly adopting RCS features.

Indeed, Google’s post on its The Keyword blog tells that many Allo features have been moved to Messages:

We want every single Android device to have a great default messaging experience. We’ve been working closely with the mobile industry to upgrade SMS so that people around the world can more easily enjoy group chats, share high-res photos, and get read receipts on any Android device. Thanks to partnerships with over 40 carriers and device makers, over 175 million of you are now using Messages, our messaging app for Android phones, every month.

It is somewhat ironic to see both Allo and Hangouts fall, especially considering that Allo was being framed as the successor consumer messaging program that would eventually replace Hangouts.

Speaking of Hangouts, while Google hasn’t announced the end of Hangouts, it will soon allow G Suite customers to invite outside Google users to their Hangouts Chats and Hangouts Meets discussions. The company stressed that it is “fully committed to supporting Hangouts users in the meantime.”

For the moment being, Allo’s video chat cohort, Duo, seems to be doing well in its consumer market — it was the only app of the pair to join the standard GApps pre-load set that most Android OEMs must adopt under mandate from Google.

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