Android Central asks:
What if there was an app that had the simple appeal of Apple’s iMessage, but was available for every person using an iPhone or an Android?
Unfortunately the article’s premise works only if Allo ships pre-installed on devices. Even if Google does that for Android, Apple would never allow it for iOS. This would leave Allo with the same need for manual installation as other 3rd party messengers, except those other messengers are already far more successful.
There’s an existing case of this: Hangouts. Hangouts was preinstalled on Android devices and worked automagically via Android’s Gmail account prerequisite. Yet it never took off on any other platform (except perhaps the desktop) and isn’t even in the top 5 messaging apps.
Facebook handled this challenge in a completely different manner: they simply opened up Facebook Messenger to use by anyone with a phone number. BOOM: Messenger is now the world’s #2 messaging app despite needing manual installation on all platforms.
I think it’s hilarious how every Android (fan)blog conveniently ignores that iMessage also has a desktop component that Allo doesn’t. So does Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, which are available on all platforms, thus enabling them to span form factors.
Another mistake here is the extreme iMessage tunnelvision. iMessage may be big in the US where iOS rules, but Android rules the rest of the world. If Allo is indeed the anti-iMessage, that would make it a narrow and incomplete solution that addresses only one market.
Even Microsoft haven’t been as disingenuos as Google. Say what you will about Skype, but at least Microsoft haven’t pushed a completely incompatible service that no one has any real reason to use.
The market failure of Google Talk, Google Voice (as a messaging solution), and Hangouts shows that Google still doesn’t fundamentally get how people actually communicate. They think they can sell every feature/application solely on ideological purism. That doesn’t work in the real world.