Stephen Lam | Reuters
Erik Kay, engineering director at Google, introduces Allo and Duo on stage during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California May 18, 2016
Google plans to kill chat app Allo by the middle of next year, the company said in a blog post, confirming a report earlier on Wednesday about the product’s imminent demise.
Despite owning the world’s dominant smartphone operating system in Android, Google has never been able to create a chat experience to rival Apple’s iMessage or Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp.
Allo, which launched two years ago to much fanfare, will only work until March 2019, at which point users will have to download any conversations they want to save. Meanwhile, Google will focus fully on the development of Messages, its other chat app for Android phones. Earlier this year, Google announced that it was working with mobile carriers on a new Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard, an upgrade to classic SMS texting, to make messaging work better across Android devices, and bring users features like read receipts and seamless group chats.
That initiative was the beginning of the end for Allo, which saw its product lead defect to Facebook earlier this year.
Google also said in its blog post that it plans to support another one of its chat apps, Hangouts, until it makes two of its enterprise apps, Hangouts Chat and Meet, available for non-paying users.
A Google employee tweeted earlier on Thursday that Meet and Chat would launch for regular consumers next year:
Google has long had a complicated, messy strategy when it comes to chat apps, and has axed a laundry list of communication products, including the original GChat, the social network Buzz, and the collaboration tool Wave. Earlier this year, it announced it was shutting down its social network Google Plus after it discovered a security bug that left private profile data exposed.