Google announced 3 new messaging apps last week: Allo, Duo and Spaces:
- Allo is powered by the new Google Assistant so you can complete certain tasks (like making a restaurant reservation or looking for movie showtimes) without leaving the conversation.
- Duo provides video calls with a twist: you can see a live feed of the caller before you even accept the call.
- Spaces allows you to share, browse and comment on content with groups of friends, so all user engagement can happen without leaving the app.
All of them provide something slightly new, but do we need all these features to live in independent apps?
Admittedly, smaller feature-focused apps are not new, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and many other companies have been doing this for a while with more or less success, but there is a growing problem with this approach: features overlap.
If I want to talk to a friend, do I use Hangouts? Messenger (Google’s)? Allo? Duo? Why not deliver on the promise of making Hangouts *the* messaging app? Why not integrate Google Assistant and that cool video feature in an already successful app?
Google has enough resources to fund as many apps as they want, and then keep only those that survive, but as a user, I get confused by this strategy. Our phones are filled with messaging apps, making us think “what app should I use this time?” Add to the list WhatsApp, Messenger (Facebook’s), Snapchat, Telegram, Line, Viber… did I miss anyone?
Messaging is already a crowded space and it looks like the situation is not going to improve any time soon. Will we ever get tired of it?