The burning question on everyone's mind when Allo was released - "can you send SMS?" The answer, as seemingly common with Google products, is "it's complicated." Allo-w me to explain the answer, and more of Allo's quirky behavior, below.
What happens when I send a text to someone without Allo?
When you tap a contact that has not yet registered for Google Allo, you are presented with the above message warning that you are sending messages through SMS. When you send a message, the recipient receives the following text from a random five-digit number (at least in my tests):
[Your full name] ([Your phone number]) added you on Google Allo to chat.
... and a lot like Telegram. And Facebook Messenger. And plenty of other messaging apps too. But enumerating those would make for a very long title so I had to restrict it to the most popular messenger out there.
Google Allo, unlike its sister app, Duo, has its work cut out for it. While Duo doesn't have a clear competitor in the simple one-on-one mobile messaging field, especially on Android, Allo faces a roadblock of established opponents that have had years to develop their featureset, userbase, and public image. On the one hand, this gives Allo the opportunity to start fresh without any unnecessary remnants that other apps and services carry because of their older origins and the room to learn from what has and hasn't worked for them, but on the other hand, it also puts Allo at the very bottom of a very steep hill. Read More
We've been expecting some changes to SMS functionality in Hangouts for some time, especially after Google started pushing Messenger as an SMS alternative inside Hangouts. As of Hangouts v11, it looks like the other shoe has dropped. This version of the app removes merged conversations as an option. Read More
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It's time for text messaging to improve. Sending brief bursts of texts is fine, but appending an image turns a largely reliable form of communication into a coin toss. MMS, despite being available on traditional flip phones, is still a headache for many smartphone owners.
There's an effort to adopt a more modern standard known as Rich Communciation Services. Several months ago Google acquired Jibe, a company that prioritized implementing this technology on modern phones, and now the tech giant along with a bunch of carriers around the globe are announcing an initiative to accelerate adoption. Read More
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Pushbullet began as a quick way to send files, links, and other data from one device to another. Along the way, the team took the infrastructure it had in place and introduced instant messaging (through a phone using SMS). Last month the feature grew to include group conversations. Today, the service has evolved to support sending picture messages. Read More
The issues with Hangouts on Android are becoming legendary at this point. It's an app that has suffered from a multitude of bugs, sluggishness issues, and incomplete features over the years. Now, a rumor posted by Phandroid says that Google is going to pull one of the more problematic (and important) features from Hangouts in a future update—SMS and MMS. Read More