Google is again trying to find another way to develop a texting service that can rival the likes of iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. The company told the Verge on Thursday that it is “pausing investment” in Allo, its latest messaging app launched in 2016, and will instead be focusing on an alternative to SMS called “Chat.” Google has reportedly been courting cellphone carriers to replace SMS, the default service for cellphones, with Chat in order to finally provide Android users with decent texting functionality.
Trying to convince major carriers to adopt a new standard seems like a lot of work for a company that already had a perfectly good messaging service with Gchat, which Google inexplicably dumped in 2017 for Hangouts. The charm of Gchat, as Gizmodo argued in its eulogy at the time, was that it just sent messages and facilitated video calls without much fuss. Left in its place was a jumble of other apps, like Allo, Duo, and Hangouts, which never managed to recapture the popularity and simplicity of Gchat.