Google Allo is the brand new messaging app that’s meant to take on the likes of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, WeChat, and to a certain extent it’s own Hangouts app. Google has put some fun things into the app like sticker packs, audio messages, chat themes and Google Assistant. However, in order to be successful, specifically in the U.S., Google needs to add SMS support as soon as possible.
The thing about the U.S. market is that the majority of smartphone users still communicate via SMS, whether it be through Hangouts, Google Messenger or iMessage for iPhone users. It’s getting harder and harder to convince your friends and family to download yet another app when they already have their SMS app installed. This is quite different outside of the U.S. and in particular places like India. There have been signs that Google actually tailored Allo and it’s sister video calling app Duo, to the Indian market where access to cellular plans and SMS is more limited. Most users in places like India use WhatsApp, which doesn’t require expensive cellular plans.
We actually asked Google Assistant why they don’t support SMS and here’s the answer they gave us:
So Google Assistant is deflecting and giving us a link to troubleshoot sending an SMS from your iPhone. We got more specific and asked why Allo doesn’t support SMS and here’s what Assistant told us:
This time they gave us a link to Android Police about the weird workaround that doesn’t really work that well and isn’t a true SMS integration. So we’re left wondering if and when Google will add real SMS support to an app that is actually pretty great on it’s own but needs more users to really make a name for itself. The current market share for Android smartphones is around 80%, which is pretty staggering. If they take a page out of the Apple playbook and add SMS to Google Allo and make it default on all Android phones, more users will join and eventually explore the features that make this app special. I’m not sure they will achieve the scale they’re looking for without SMS and the U.S. market to propel this thing forward considering the already entrenched competition.