Google is placing its "investment" in the Allo app on hold as the company is refocusing its resources in order to organize a more concentrated push toward Rich Communication Services (RCS), a communication protocol meant to enhance the traditional messaging experience on mobile devices. In Google's case, that new RCS commitment comes in the form of Chat, a functionality of the Android Messages app that's essentially an optimized version of the Universal Profile for RCS. The ultimate decision on the matter has been reached by Google's communications chief Anil Sabharwal who opted to move the majority of the company's Allo team to Chat, i.e. Android Messages, the Verge reports.
While Allo still isn't planned to be discontinued for the time being, the speed of its updates is likely to slow down in a significant manner given how most of its developers will now be abandoning it to work on an entirely unrelated project. To date, the app found its way to over ten million devices, according to its official Play Store listing. In the context of the messaging segment where every truly universal platform such as Facebook's Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, or Apple's iMessage boast hundreds of millions of users and the most successful ones are used by over a billion people each, ten million installs after more than a year and a half on the market is a figure that doesn't warrant a continuation of major commitments moving forward, at least as far as Google is concerned.
In the context of Chat, the built-in functionality of Android Messages will largely be run and developed by wireless carriers who partner with Google on the initiative, with the ultimate goal being creating a true iMessage rival after a decade of repeated failure to do so. RCS itself still can't be considered a like-for-like alternative to instant messaging solutions given how it doesn't support end-to-end encryption. Compatible Android phones on Sprint's network already support Chat and T-Mobile will integrate the technology into its own offerings by the end of the current quarter.