Allo & Goodbye

The standout part of this article is that the latest Google attempt to enter the messaging market, Allo, is dead. Despite being a Google product with full access to the Play store, it got mere 50 million downloads. It is yet another example of Google’s inability to get focused.  It struggles to simplify — which is kinda ironic because this is the company that removed all the clutter from search and made search great again.

Google’s corporate dysfunction can be summed up in its failure to have a coherent, clear and winning messaging strategy. Despite owning the Android OS, the company’s multiple attempts to become a messaging player have been at best, mediocre. Now it has a new service, called Chat.

Chat is a carrier-based service, not a Google service. It’s just “Chat,” not “Google Chat.” In a sign of its strategic importance to Google, the company has spearheaded development on the new standard, so that every carrier’s Chat services will be interoperable. But, like SMS, Chat won’t be end-to-end encrypted, and it will follow the same legal intercept standards. In other words: it won’t be as secure as iMessage or Signal.

It is an SMS replacement, though no-one on the “team real people” is screaming for — we are all happy with Telegram, WhatsApp or whatever else they might be using. And when they are not available, we go back to SMS, but that is such a rare occurrence.  And as Walt Mossberg said on Twitter:

Google builds an insecure messaging system controlled by carriers who are in bed with governments everywhere at exactly the time when world publics are more worried about data collection and theft than ever.

A letter from Om

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