Google can’t figure out messaging. Over the years the company has repeatedly attempted to release something to compete against iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other platforms. Nothing has stuck. It had Google Talk, and that was converted into Hangouts. While Hangouts wasn’t perfect, it did gain enough momentum to be respected but still remained behind the competition. These days Hangouts is a business-focused product while Allo is meant to be for everyone.
The integration of artificial intelligence for Allo drew plenty of attention. It felt like Google finally figured out messaging, at least by letting users leverage the power of Google Assistant within their conversations. But the company left out something so simple.
There wasn’t (and still isn’t) a way to send SMS/MMS messages on Allo. Without traditional number-to-number messaging support, it’s a useless app for many people.
Requests, which there have been a lot of, for Google to add the basic feature have been ignored for more than a year. While pretending no one wants it, the company champions itself on the number of stickers Allo has. Google just released a new update to Allo that allows for further customization of selfie stickers. Because that’s of course what everyone wanted.
Allo’s Jason Cornwell talks throughout a video showing us the progress made on selfie stickers. Rather than transforming you once and making a single style, Allo is now able to offer various looks through different expressions. The goal is to make selfie stickers on Allo completely open to self-expression.
Sure, improved stickers are fantastic. Every messaging platform is moving towards them as emoji lose their appeal. However, Google is working extremely hard on Allo while holding out on something that would bring millions of people to it. Go on any forum, and you’ll see that the common thing holding people back from Allo is the lack of SMS/MMS.
There hasn’t been any indication that Google is planning to bring traditional texting to Allo in the near future. Since it doesn’t look like it’ll ever happen, you’ll have to embrace Android Message or a third-party app. Maybe in 2018 we’ll see SMS/MMS on Allo.