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article imageGoogle Allo reaches 10 million downloads after three months

By James Walker     Dec 13, 2016 in Technology
Google's new Allo messaging app has passed the 10 million downloads mark three months after its launch. The chat client has been met with a frosty reception and has suffered from a slow consumer update. It now trails its established rivals.
Google launched Allo back in September. It's meant to be a pared back experience that puts people and messaging back at the heart of the app. It also features strong integration with Google Assistant, letting you directly ask Google questions using natural language queries from within Allo.
Allo has received negative reviews from many industry critics and users. People have failed to engage with its lack of features, vocally calling for the extensive capabilities of Allo's rivals to be implemented. It doesn't support things like voice and video calls as Google has chosen to spin these features off into a different app, the also-new Duo.
Reaching the 10 million download mark is therefore something of a success for Allo. However, growth has slowed considerably since the first few days after launch. Android Police notes that Allo made it to the five million mark within five days of availability. It's taken it over two months to double that figure. The app isn't expected to reach 50 million downloads anytime soon.
The problems with Allo run deeper than a lack of features. Google has also been criticised for adding yet another messaging app to its line-up. Allo sits alongside Hangouts, Google's former flagship chat app which is popular with users, and will replace it over time.
The future isn't here yet though. At the moment, Google is in the unusual position of trying to convince users to move from a feature-filled platform to a messaging app with a feature list only a few lines long. Allo is only available on Android and iOS. There is no web interface or desktop app, making it unsuitable for serious use.
Before Allo's launch, Google also backtracked on the app's promised security. After pledging chats would use full end-to-end encryption, it admitted regular messages would not be encrypted.
You can manually start a secure chat by entering Allo's "Incognito" mode but it's a far from perfect solution. Google made the change to improve the performance of Google Assistant's artificial intelligence. It decided to sacrifice user privacy to Allo's single differentiating feature.
The slow uptake on Allo could influence Google's future decisions regarding the app. Since launch, updates have added a handful of minor features, including landscape support and a quick reply function, as well as theme and sticker packs. Little has been done to address the fundamental issues around Google's fragmented messaging ecosystem and Allo's feature deficit.
With the app widely expected to stall at the 10 million mark, Google could be left looking for new ideas. Allo's main rivals, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, both have over 1 billion downloads on Google Play.
More about Google, google allo, Messaging, Apps, Chat
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