One of the least popular Google apps, even internally is Hangouts. It was an attempt to merge all the messaging components amongst Google properties like Google+, Gmail and Youtube. Unfortunately the app is slow, clunky and not as simple to use as the other messaging apps that have dominated the market. Google’s solution to this is to launch two more messaging apps: Allo and Duo.
Allo is a messaging app that like WhatsApp and Viber that registers you using your phone number. This is the easiest and fastest way to build a social messaging app out. It has some nice takes on features from other services and aims to improve on all of them. However, the biggest difference is the integration of the new Google Assistant:
“Allo also features the Google assistant, bringing the richness of Google directly into your chats—helping you find information, get things done, and have fun. You can chat one-on-one with the assistant, or call on Google in a group chat with friends. Either way, you no longer have to jump between apps to do things like book a dinner reservation with friends, get up-to-date sports scores, settle a bet, or play a game. The assistant in Allo lets you bring things like Search, Maps, YouTube and Translate to all your conversations, so that you and your friends can use Google together.”
Duo, is a one on one video calling app. It’s claim to fame is that a lot of work has gone into making the video as smooth and maintain the highest quality as possible whilst reducing latency. The demonstrations have been impressive although it will need real world testing.
It remains to be seen if Google can successfully build a social messaging app and if users will want to use one more app in addition to the three or four they already use.