Most of the time, four is better than one. But when it comes to the apps I rather have one that does it all, than four to meet my needs. Google is releasing Allo to the general public today and you can have a gander yourself. You can download it (or preregister depending on your location) yourself if you wish form the play store – or use apk from the link below.
The app offers you bog standard features that you would expect from a chat application, and the marketing push seems to be the Google’s assistant that creepily reads the conversation you are having while suggesting some relevant information. I’m not entirely sure who came up with this idea. The last thing I would like to feel is being invigilated by Google services while you are having an intimate time with your partner 🙂
All aside, I’m looking for an application that is able to make my social life easier, and introducing me to 4 different applications to achieve 4 different goals is not a reasonable solution. I use Whatsapp as my daily driver and it mostly meets my needs. Google has to offer me something more than predefined answers and reading my conversations to switch me over. Sadly this is not the case. For now, this is a new gimmick that I will use with few of my contacts after begging them to install the app and try it with me. This is not how you start a chat app.
I realise that product manager at Google will never see this post, however perhaps you would agree with me on how the perfect chat app would look like:
- one app to manage calls, video calls, chats, and text messages
- email/phone authorisation is ok, but I should not need to open a Gmail account
- contacts can be added by phone number, email, unique ID (adding a contact through one of the methods won’t share the other contact details)
- web interface (or standalone app for desktop PC)
- support for use on multiple devices (looking here at you Whatsapp!!)
- group messages
- per contact notification options and location sharing options
- encryption and privacy settings
I realise that Allo is a new app and things may change, however, I doubt we will see the merger between the three (or four if you count the messenger) apps. Google is not going to dominate the chat market in the next few years. That’s for sure. It is a shame, as each proposition from google adds something that I like, but never got to use it as most of the time it feels like I’m the only person on earth using this damned thing!
Google – sort yourself out!