Google Allo is a smart messaging app for Android and iOS. It helps you say more and do more right in your chats. Google Allo helps you make a plan, find information, and express yourself more easily in chat. It does the things you expect from a messaging app: sends pictures, lets you share fun stickers, works for group chats, and so on. The best part of Google’s new messaging app Allo is the ability to chat with the Google Assistant AI helper. It is a fine app but not perfect. To succeed, Google needs much more than fine. This app needs something special to make users switch away from those other apps.
As Google has released its fair share of communication apps in recent years and there is still a lot of confusion about what exactly Allo is and how it works.
It does not seem like a compelling product. Allo is missing many of the basic features you might expect in an instant messaging app. And they are as:
- It only works with one device at a time.
- It does not work on a desktop or laptop computer.
- It doesn’t support tablets very well.
- It doesn’t use a Google account.
- It doesn’t support SMS.
Allo has had a curiously incomplete product launch and many Google users are left wondering what the company was thinking. Its limitations are deal breakers for many people in the hyper-connected developed world who are accustomed to multiple devices and a few GBs of Internet connectivity. But what if you’re not in a developed country? Google hasn’t explicitly come out and said so but Allo’s features and Google’s actions around the launch of Allo all point to it being targeted at developing countries and a developing country in particular: India. When viewed through the lens of the average person in India, Allo’s “incomplete” launch, odd design decisions, and missing features suddenly make sense.
Google <3 India
Google’s love affair with India is no secret. It is all about scale and having huge numbers of users. And if you look at a list of countries by population, China is first, India is second, and the US is third. If Google chooses China for its business and they have to deal with the censorship-happy Chinese government. So India is the biggest country in the world for Google to do business freely. It is also the home country of Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Reasons that shows that Google Allo is targeting India:
Let’s start with Google’s decision to not give Allo a Web or desktop client. According to data from Dutch research firm TNS Infratest, March 2015 PC usage in the US and the UK were both around 75 percent. Whereas PC usage in India is at only 15 percent and smartphones usage achieve 33 percent. Allo doesn’t work on your PC but that doesn’t matter if Google is targeting India, where fewer people use PCs.
Here is the reason behind the lack of tablet support. As per the survey, 51 percent of the UK adult population and 39 percent of the US adult population use a tablet. In India, only 4.8 percent of adults have a tablet. So while tablet support is something to complain about in the US or the UK, it’s not a problem for most people in India.
Google’s only real mistake with Google Allo was pushing the apps in developed countries when the apps were clearly not designed around the typical use cases for those countries. Allo doesn’t support Google account logins or multiple devices and no versions exist for desktops, tablets, or the Web. These things may be added in updates later. But if Google wants to convince all kinds of people all over the world to use Allo, it had better add these features fast.