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Source: Google Allo will be officially shut down soon (9to5google.com)
200 points by ganeshkrishnan 43 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 173 comments

Google feels like a company that's run by a bunch of engineers/product managers instead of a product leader with a cohesive vision. Anyone with an iPhone would understand what iMessages is and what FaceTime is. What is what and what you can do with each. Now explain it to me Google - what's your vision? (Or is it "target end state" in engineering speak?) As customers we want (at most) one chat application and one video calling application. What is it going to be?

It's the exact same story with Music applications too. Android Music and Google Play Music seems abandoned. YT Music is pushed down the throat with a ton of the features of GPM missing. Subscription pricing keeps changing around. Same story with Gmail/Inbox. One by one I have left all Google's products now.

That said, whoever is running Google Maps is a genius. It's one product that gets it right. The fact that overlayed business listing, transit, traffic and now ride share systems ...etc. is just brilliant. We take it for granted. But if Google Maps ended up in the hands of whoever was in charge of their messaging or music strategy we'd have - Google Maps, Google Directions, Google Transit, Google Businesses, Google Restaurants and Google Rides.

>Now explain it to me Google - what's your vision

It's a bunch of very talented, bored engineers who realize that launching a product, even if it fails, is better for their career and resume than doing grunge work that might be better for google's bottom line

Basically resume driven development and Google hasn't done anything to prevent it. They probably don't care, they'd rather have them wasting money at Google than leaving due to boredom and potentially creating a startup or going to a competitor that might disrupt Google somehow.

This is exactly correct (former Googler; still in touch with many). This is one of the reasons for the endless usability-destroying redesigns on their successful products -- people need listable accomplishments in order to advance, either internally or externally.

Google has destroyed, or at least nullified, a generation of engineering talent with their unambitious, checkbox-resume based advancement scheme. We should all expect more from a supposedly engineering-driven organization.

Large companies rise, and then fall to clear up the space for the next aspiring large company. It's Google's natural destiny to fall, too.

Interestingly, the lifetime of a company is directly tied to the attention span of its customers. As long people come to the store asking for Coca Cola the company will endure, so this is probably generational. Enterprise software sticks around, so does Oracle. Internet consumer technology promotes attention span that's measured in seconds, Google can come crashing down quite suddenly.

The search engine is still very profitable, though, so that would curb the fall. (Or did I miss some news there?)

My point was rather that Google search may not be that sticky.

Coca Cola is sticky through brand advertising, business deals, product placement, etc. Pretty much all that money spent by people on bottles of the sugary water was pumped into marketing, not into manufacturing. Over decades this created a very firm image in the people's heads, and the only way to dislodge it is to create a new brand for younger consumers (which Coca Cola will purchase as soon as it shows traction).

ERP software is deeply ingrained into business processes, removing it is akin to removing a person's neural system. The only way to dislodge that is to address up-and-coming companies, having them build their processes around a new paradigm.

You can't just beat any of this via superior quality product, they have "a moat" [1]

Google doesn't have that loyalty, and it's not that deeply ingrained. They ride on their default placement in Chrome/iOS and on the search result quality (which stems from quality engineering and superior scale yielding large data sets). If someone used NLP to build a more relevant search engine (of course serving more relevant ads), it won't be long before that new search engine starts using their revenue to pay higher $$ amount to hardware manufacturers to make a new engine the default. It's a shaky ground, and it's why Google is re-inventing itself and AI company - if they don't then someone else will. There is some strength in Google's name itself, but I'm not sure it can match to the visceral reaction to an addictive sugary drink.

[1] https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/05/economicmoat.asp

The problem is not the promotion criteria. That's fine. After all, promoting people for successfully completing projects is hardly a stupid or irrational way to reward people. The alternatives are all worse.

The problem is there are too many Googlers, so they keep inventing busywork projects that don't need to exist (like reinventing messaging over and over) because otherwise there's nothing for them to do. The ideas:people ratio is completely out of whack.

Why are there too many Googlers? Because Google would rather spend money on hiring than returning excess profit to investors.

Why would they do that? Because their stock voting structure prevents investors from forcing their hand, and because of an essentially delusional culture/belief amongst senior management that they hire the world's smartest people, that they will never run out of ideas, that there's always more to do etc etc. Management can't accept that Google might have tapped out, ideas-wise, and maybe its natural size is smaller than today not bigger. It takes quite some humility to say "we're spinning our wheels, the profit we generate could be better deployed elsewhere" and they can't do it.

Watching this process play out gave me a new appreciation for why shares have voting rights.

This seems like such an odd perspective to me. If I was hiring a UI designer, for example, a resume saying you worked on the Gmail rewrite would make you an instant pass. Having a product on your resume is only good for you if that product has a reputation for being good.

From what I gather, basically Googlers are only really rewarded (promoted) for delivering "new" things, and iterative improvements, bug fixes and even making different products cohesive are not recognized.

There's lots of good examples of this [1], but from one particuarly recent example [2]:

> I should have done the opposite: figure out what the promotion committee wants, and do that work exclusively.

> I adopted a new strategy. Before starting any task, I asked myself whether it would help my case for promotion. If the answer was no, I didn’t do it.

> My quality bar for code dropped from, “Will we be able to maintain this for the next 5 years?” to, “Can this last until I’m promoted?” I didn’t file or fix any bugs unless they risked my project’s launch. I wriggled out of all responsibilities for maintenance work.

When you look at their products through this lens, it starts to make sense, such as continually launching "new" communication apps that might as well be from different companies.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16231658

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16483241

> It's a bunch of very talented, bored engineers who realize that launching a product, even if it fails, is better for their career and resume than doing grunge work that might be better for google's bottom line

I wonder if, and how much, this plays into the vast number of contractors Google pays to do that very "grunge work".

I'd put Google Drive/Docs/Sheets in there as home runs. They just keep getting better and better. I hardly ever think about using a desktop office suite any more. Remember when collaborating on a document meant emailing copies and revisions back and forth to each other? Unthinkable now.

But Allo? My thought was "oh, another Google product I never heard of is shutting down."

No way do I put all my personal documents in the cloud of a company that doesn't do customer service, gets rid of whole product lines without warning whenever it feels like, and has no recourse to actual human help if you're locked out of your accounts and can't get authenticated.

You would want to back up your google documents offline or on another server constantly, which defeats the whole purpose.

You can pay for G Suite, it's not that expensive. I'm on a grandfathered plan (free) - so no phone support but email support is available, and the agent even called me to check if I was able to resolve my problem.

They have to, otherwise Microsoft will trample them with their SharePoint/Office online offering.

Apple is currently trampling Google in messaging.

I doubt it - like most Apple things, it probably only works with other Apple things. Most things in the world are not Apple.

I don't think that true in the broad messaging space (speaking of martekshare), mostly because apple limits itself to the portion of the market that happens to own apple products. Facebook is, though.

Meh, everyone I know uses Telegram. I haven't used Facebook messages in years because the feature is apparently not on the mobile website and I'm not willing to install an app that requires suspiciously many permissions.

Here’s a lil trick: if you have to, you can access your Facebook messages on mbasic.facebook.com.

(And on to the point, Facebook has also, of course, WhatsApp, which is massive)

In the comparison of the two companies, Apple is crushing Google in any context. In the US, it's the same if you include other players. Worldwide is a different story.

Drive and Docs/Sheets make for an abomination.

Each one is good in isolation. But for a company whose primary user facing product is searching for things, Google sure haven't bothered to make the that work in drive. The search in GDrive is just plain atrocious.

At work we need to frequently ask someone working on a document or a set of documents to paste the sharing links, because GDrive's search will not surface the document or the drive folders you are looking for. Even with exact words or phrases.

And don't get me started on the latest incarnations of GSuite admin (slow) or Gmail (slower). But at least in those the search feature works.

I think that helps explain the puzzle. Drive/Docs/Sheets probably do have a strong mandate from senior leadership and a coherent vision: beat Microsoft. So these products have effort and focus that most Google offerings lack.

It’s 1.0-ism. Engineers are apparently most positively rewarded at google for being part of the first public release of a product but there’s little reward for then sticking around for 1.1+ I’ve heard Google PMs complaining how their engineering team mostly bailed after 1.0 to the point where it becomes hard to get even basic stuff like i18n done.

Their worst update was with Google Finance. It was a fully functional product with great features before they updated it. Now, you cannot compare the returns of more than two stock, cannot compare across different custom time periods, no way to get annualized financial results, the portfolio feature is gone. It is a mess.

Straight from the source:

On Google's philosophy versus Apple's: "I used to have this debate with Steve Jobs, and he would always say, 'You guys are doing too much stuff.' He did a good job of doing one or two things really well. We'd like to have a bigger impact on the world by doing more things."

That would make sense if all the things Google did has a lifespan of more than a few years.

wait till they break Google voice into Google talking and Google Listening

Then shut down Listening part.

Sounds like a wildly successful competitor against Twitter to me

They have shut down the listening part a long time ago by providing absolutely no way for people to get in touch with humans about problems faced by customers.

The lead of Maps spends a large proportion of his time listening to user feedback (some of it even here on HN!). I suspect that's a big part of the reason for the higher quality product.

Maps is just so much closer to the ad business than all those glorified ICQ clones and B2C experiments. The traditional web ad isn't terribly attractive for local businesses, but with Google maps effectively filling the role that yellow pages directories used to have, small businesses seem almost desperate to throw their money to Google. And Google carefully keeping maps from becoming a cacophony of virtual billboards only seems to make that urge stronger: "if we can't directly pay for ranking, maybe buying some other Google ad products will make the algorithms more favorable". The two sacrificial offerings comes to mind. Maps must be a core strategical asset for Google, because the aggregate ad spending potential of all those small businesses is huge, even when you are Google.The chat apps etc are insignificant compared to that. Maybe they really are just Google-scale coding katas to the organization.

I just did a ad buy for a small k-8 school. The power of the targeting availability in Google around the map is incredible. AdWords is pretty amazing, as is Waze.

Is that still Bernie Seefeld ?

Bernie's a genius and super humble guy. I was lucky enough to work close to him during his last months in Switzerland before he left to NY. He's inspiring.

Totally in agreement. Same can be said about their hardware lines. From nexus phones to chromebooks. Terrible.

I was a hangouts guy. That's what has me worried about their cloud services. Are they going to suddenly just add and remove things without any real notice?

I have some Hangouts that I use daily over the last 5 years. I am going to be very sad when they shut it down

You mean just like how the messaging "strategy" that gave us Allo also created Duo? Because adding just one new messaging application was not enough. They had to split messaging into two.

Is Duo also being shut down?

Nope, they're fine with its success.

I've never heard of anyone using it after its launch, felt it was very buggy when it launched and the name implying it only supports two users limits it severely ... but they seem to be happy with it.

... or they forgot it exists.

> felt it was very buggy when it launched

I spent all that time convincing my mom it was just as easy as facetime, and all for nothing after the stream kept cutting out the first time we tried it. Now we just facetime, which is the only reason I have an iPad.

>>Google feels like a company that's run by a bunch of engineers/product managers instead of a product leader with a cohesive vision.

Google is a company that follows a model called OKR. Here, in this model, the company is always supposed to be chasing moonshots.

There fore all incentives, pay, raise, promotions, stock grants etc etc are all attached to such moonshots.

There is zero incentive for anyone for to maintain anything.

The system is working perfectly as designed.

It's always a good idea to expand acronyms that you're using. OKR apparently stands for "Objectives and key results", according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OKR.

>whoever is running Google Maps is a genius.

Yet waze is still a separate product, instead of a set of features to be enabled in Google Maps.

First of all, Waze was an acquisition and the users/following of Waze is very different from Google Maps. It's a niche product to be honest. Google Maps already absorbs the most valuable information from Waze. I believe that's how they show accidents and road closures.

It's because making a chat app isn't actually that hard... The product has been commotodized. Maps on the other hand..incredibly complicated and we are still far from a "perfect" maps experience.

we - me

It's ironic you pick Google Maps as the one product that "gets it right". Did you hear about the recent pricing scandal? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17570029

I didn't really read that as much of a scandal. Just that they were increasing prices and people got upset.

I'm upset by this because I just got burned by it last week. I needed their geocoding API for a project at work. I didn't realize I was looking at their old pricing page at first, and came to the conclusion it would cost us about $65 a month. Once I realized my mistake, I did the math again and it came to over $700 a month, which couldn't be justified for the use case. So I've spent the last week implementing the functionality I needed myself. While I agree it's not a 'scandal', it's extremely frustrating and baffling to me.

yes, I agree that's extremely frustrating. It was a huge price increase, and probably needed to be justified or at least have a different tiered structure to make it less expensive.

That's only screwing the other sites that integrate with google maps. Not so much the end user that is using google maps directly.

Google maps get it right? so i can download just country package before visiting it? i can just use it as offline navigation avoiding steep roaming fees or even better lack of network coverage in wilderness? i am honestly surprised by anyone using Google maps, that app it's missing basic features other apps had for years

F-droid Maps user

Google map's offline download feature works fine on my phone.

you can select country in list of countries without highlighting some area finally?


Can you select a physical area that you are going to visit and download that you to your phone for offline use? Yes.

Perhaps you can explain to me: what does selecting an area from a list afford you that highlighting an area visually does not? I've even used this, on a couple of occasions, to download the roadmaps for entire, albeit tiny, countries.

it's much easier than highlighting whole area including nearby countries since most of the countries don't have blocky shape and if you end up highlighting whole country you must highlight also unnecessary areas behind border

you must be really fanboy if you need to have explained how it's choosing package of country/region data superior to highlighting some area

you also forgot to answer how it's offline navigation working in these great Google maps

Google dumped an incredible amount of money into Allo's marketing at my (large state) university -- they plastered many buildings with full-length advertisements, filled all of the local businesses with pamphlets, and even drove students around campus in weird little (electric?) buggies[1].

Despite all that, I don't think I know anybody who installed (much less regularly used) Allo.

Edit: They also bought Snapchat filters that were geofenced to the campus.

[1]: https://www.google.com/search?q=allo+campus+car

People can smell when a product isn't earnest. From the beginning, Allo smelled like a directive by a Google VP to "get messaging market share."

Not that I’m defending Allo, but I don’t know how useful your distinction is. What is an earnest product then?

Any product released by a company that has bills to pay is released to “get market share”.

Google was clearly not strategically invested in Allo; as it was one of at least five messaging products? Duo, Allo, Hangouts, SMS app, the carrier RCS BS. As a consumer, when i see that, I know Google isn't going to continue doing all of those in two to three years, but I don't know which one they're going to keep, and it's not worth my social capital to get enough of my friends onboard to try it.

I think they mean it was a “me too” product. “Everybody’s using their messaging app. That should be us! Let’s make a new messaging app and take over that market.”

As opposed to a really new and innovative product (e.g. the iPhone) or at least one that’s a notable improvement over existing similar ones (Gmail).

It’s a spectrum rather than a hard and fast distinction, of course.

In this context, an earnest product could be a messaging product that aimed to solve a problem with other existing products and had a coherent story explaining this.

Allo from the outside seemed to solve no problem other than "people are using messaging platforms that aren't ours".

I assumed GP meant that there's nothing in it for the user, only for the company.

Other examples include carrier-branded apps that come preinstalled on phones.

Exactly this.

An earnest product is one that succeeds after a year or two, and the non-earnest are the ones that fail, duh!

I live in Brazil and there were Allo ads on television, which was very unusual for a messaging app.

I complain about Google having too many competing/overlapping products, so I can't really complain when they close/merge them.

The best time to shutdown Allo was before it launched, the second best time is now.

From an Xoogler's perspective, the launches are all about the promos. Eg, just think about all those engineers who would not have gotten a promotion because then they would not have had a product launch in their promo packet.

But there should be some VP which will be accountable for spent budget on dead product..

Ah - but if you're the one with VPs reporting to you, you best not foster an environment where taking risks (even like this) is punished, if due diligence seems like it was carried out.

And you have to be very conservative with what you consider a violation of that threshold.

Very interesting - other large orgs also accept waste in the name of talent development, but I'm not sure I've seen it at this scale.

Do scientific advances in papers also count as product launches, or do you have to put a thing in the world?

Previously, they made a hard push to make sure that their science was "applied" science, but that's softened a bit in their pitches lately [0].

The current iteration has a 4-axis evaluation metric [1], where the value of a given project is measured by the area of the polygon.

So, you can make theoretical advances that don't go into products, but it's better for you if they do.

[0]: Disclaimer: I've been recruited by Google's research arm, but haven't worked there.

[1]: https://ai.google/research/philosophy/

The technical term for this is “circle jerk”.

I usually jump right on board when Google engineers build something new.

I must be some kind of masochist.

Is there any internal understanding that these head fakes are punishing to fans?

Me and my friends were the ones that used plus. And buzz. And wave.

Now we're terrified to buy anything on the Play store.

I'm arguably a fanboy and even I am starting to worry that humanity might be better off if all the talent at Google was out from under their direct control. If only all the project teams at Google were free agents or in startups where the baseline comparison wasn't constantly asking if their product was as lucrative as advertising...

Be Bell Labs and dump your enormous profits into fundamental research with no expectation of return. Or be Softbank and just incubate the world.

But paying a bunch of talented engineers to build and maintain things you will kill seems cruel to the engineers, the customers, and maybe even humanity.

We already had Signal, et al. We could have used these cycles for other things.

Hacker News: LOL! Google has so many messaging apps, their product strategy sucks!

Google: They're right, we need to focus our messaging strategy. Let's consolidate our platforms.

Hacker News: OMG! Google deprecates everything! Classic Google

Yep, you can see this exact process more seriously sidethread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18613860 .

>> I complain about Google having too many competing/overlapping products, so I can't really complain when they close/merge them.

But I tend to agree that "Hacker News" is right to complain in both cases. Messaging is one of those areas where the existence of products you (the consumer) don't use can hurt you, so criticism #1 stuck. The only fix played right into criticism #2.

Does that mean #2 isn't a real problem? No, in general it's even worse than problem #1. The real lesson to be drawn here is that, if you get into a "bad" situation, you may not have a "good" way out.

This message traditionally got hammered home by tragedies, but tragedies are massively unpopular with modern audiences.

It's ironic, but I also don't see a huge contradiction.

Launching terrible services is bad. Shutting down services that people have genuinely come to rely on is also bad. But shutting down services that were meritless to begin with -- not a problem, but at the same a good opportunity to criticize Google for their aimless, lukewarm product strategy. Or complete lack of product strategy. Hard to tell.

The real fix is to have a cohesive vision and try to only create products that have merit, high quality and serious commitment behind it. A failure now and then is one thing -- every large company has a little graveyard of failed products -- but to keep making the same mistake repeatedly is something else entirely.

Everyone except Google knew Allo was a bad idea before it even launched though.

Personally, I'd be on board with Allo if it was incognito mode by default with no option for the currently default mode.

That wouldn’t be a Google product.

These both signal that Google often wastes its resources through poor planning.

If you have developers working on competing products, you're wasting developer time.

If you inevitably shut down products, you're wasting developer time.

They are the same phenomenon.

The coherent recommendation isn't for more or fewer products, it's for some kind of product strategy.

Google starts and ends products so fast I can't even tell you what the current google messaging system is.

Exactly right. When I read that Google was shutting down Hangouts, I started thinking that the startup I work at would have to move to Slack. Then I slowly realized/remembered that Chat is not Hangouts. I can't keep these things straight anymore.

I had completely forgotten about Allo until I read this headline.

It's the same problem. Google dips their toes into too many ponds, doesn't commit, and then EOL's a product people care about (not sure that's the case here.) It's that cycle people don't like, so of course there are complaints on both ends.

I forgot which HN thread I read this, but an ex-googler said something like: "the most important thing to do for career growth at google is to launch your product, doesn't matter how shit/half assed/etc it is. You don't get credit for maintaining the old stuff."

Reading that put a lot of Google's actions into perspective (how many chat clients do they really need?, youtube music, etc)

Hangouts and now this?

Their track-record is one of the reasons I don’t adopt personally or recommenced new Google services to friends and family.

People use Hangouts. No one I know has ever used Allo. It hasn't even come up in conversation, even when they were marketing it. Hangouts, on the other hand, I get meeting requests all the time that include a Hangouts link. It's a quite popular technology...in my, admittedly limited, experience, it is a leading option, if not the leading option, in the "let's schedule an online meeting" sort of way.

So, I have no idea why they're killing Hangouts and it isn't clear to me what I'm supposed to use instead (as I also use Hangouts for that "let's have a meeting" purpose, and no one has ever said, "can we use something else?"). But, I see clearly why they're killing Allo. It could have literally zero users, for all I know. But, Hangouts definitely has a lot of users.

I don't think one should group the killing of Allo in with the killing of Hangouts. Killing Allo is a no-brainer, as it was seemingly a bad idea with no market fit (I mean, I guess...I never even looked into what Allo was, because I was happy with Hangouts, but the market has spoken, for sure).

I was happy with hangouts. When they took away merged SMS...that showed someone seems to be whiteanting the product or just wasn't the right person to make decisions about a messaging app. Then they pivoted to a business focused product, that was the death bell ringing IMO.

I think hangouts was their way to a decent messaging platform at some point.

Now I think they'd be better off supporting signal or buying Facebook...

TIL the word "whiteanting". Supremely useful, I'll have to remember that one.

I think you're confusing Hangouts with Meet? Meet isn't going away as far as I know.

I don't know what Meet is.

When I add an event in Google Calender, there is an "Add Conferencing" dropdown...in it is "Hangouts". That adds a conference link to the event, which I can then share with whoever I want to meet with. When it comes time to meet, I open the email reminder, or look in my calendar, and click the link. Everybody shows up...we meet. That's Hangouts, as far as I know. It opens in the Hangouts group video UI. I receive these invites from others pretty regularly, so I don't think it's anything mysterious? But, as far as I know I've never received a Meet invite.

Google is very bad at branding and marketing is what I think we can learn from this.

That thing you are describing used to be Hangouts, but is now Meet.

It's actually Hangouts Meet, so you are both right. Or both wrong, whatever.

Nobody told me. Or Google, apparently. https://photos.app.goo.gl/E9qk9KJC73VoEj5y6

When you go to the actual conference in the calendar event, do you still see a Hangouts URL and UI?

Maybe we are on different sides of an A/B test.

Literally everything I see has Hangouts branding. And, not just for me or my events...I was invited to a meeting with someone from another company yesterday, and everything about it was branded with "Hangouts" and not "Meet", too.

Also, the Google Meet website is laughably useless. It has literally no content, not even a description of what it is.

> Also, the Google Meet website is laughably useless. It has literally no content, not even a description of what it is.

“Video meetings for your business.

Connect with your team from anywhere. With easy-to-join video calls, you can meet face to face without the added cost of travel.”


EDIT: I just realized there is a separate “Google Meet” page which has no SERP summary and just redirects to the Play Store page for the Hangouts Meet app (at least, on Android.)

This is what I see at the first link when I search for "Google Meet" (url is: https://meet.google.com, which seems like it's a reasonable point of entry URL for the product): https://photos.app.goo.gl/C6HcFKEhMuFhy2EZ7

It's not a good web page. Clicking the "Learn more" link takes me to a help page telling how to join a meeting...but, not much about what Meet is. It can be inferred, but it's also not a good introduction to Meet. I have now figured out what Meet is, but not why I would prefer it over Hangouts. It appears to be the same thing, only "for business" (and with a price tag, but no promise that Google will stop surveilling my every action online...which is really the one feature I'd absolutely be willing to pay for).

I'll just reiterate that Google is bad at branding and marketing.

Here's how a random invite looks like for me:


Branding / re-branding is clearly not one of Google's strengths. Why change the name? Just change the feature set.

They didn't change the name so much as add disambiguation when they split the product. The broke Hangouts (for business, though this is now apparently coming for consumers too) into two apps, Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.

Well, yes, that, but also announced that Hangouts would be shut down, which is exceedingly confusing messaging.

Isn't "Hangouts Meet"[1] just the enterprise-y version of Hangouts? That's what it looks like on the comparison page[2], minus some Hangouts features that are missing in Hangouts Meet (no text chat, fewer supported browsers)

[1]: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.and...

[2]: https://gsuite.google.com/learning-center/products/meet/swit...

Re-read the updated Hangouts article. It sounds like it isn't going away, just being moved to a new platform. I would guess most consumers won't notice the "change".

FYI, there was an update to that article that stated (from the lead for Hangouts) that Hangouts has no set shutdown yet, and they plan on transitioning everyone to Hangouts Chat/Meet before Hangouts Classic goes down.

see: https://9to5google.com/2018/12/02/google-hangouts-shutting-d...

I have never understood why Google always exposes these account migrations to end users. Okay, something significant about the implementation is changing, and that takes development time, sure; why do users need to know or care about it? Just figure out how to make the migration as seamless as possible for them.

They didn't, this was leaked.

From the official blog post:

“Allo will continue to work through March 2019 and until then, you’ll be able to export all of your existing conversation history from the app—here are instructions on how to do so.”

That’s not terrible, but the bar is very low for this kind of thing. It’s hardly seamless.

I read that, but I don’t have much faith. And I would hardly recommend something to the average person in my family when I expect major changes that require them to relearn how to do things. There’s a reason I just recommend FaceTime or Skype to family members, it’s consistency.

But on the App Store, you can see that people fondly refer to Duo as the FaceTime for those without FaceTime. If Duo goes away without replacement, I think people will actually miss it.

I got a Duo ad Hulu yesterday. I think it will survive

> FYI, there was an update to that article that stated (from the lead for Hangouts) that Hangouts has no set shutdown yet, and they plan on transitioning everyone to Hangouts Chat/Meet before Hangouts Classic goes down.

What does that even mean?

As far as I can tell, the whole difference between "Hangouts [Classic]" and "Hangouts Chat/Meet" is that the former was for consumers and the latter was for businesses/enterprises.

So they're shutting down the consumer version and moving all consumers to the business/enterprise version of the same product? That would just turn it back into what Hangouts was before they introduced Chat/Meet in the first place!

> As far as I can tell, the whole difference between "Hangouts [Classic]" and "Hangouts Chat/Meet" is that the former was for consumers and the latter was for businesses/enterprises.

Chat and Meet replaced the classic interface for business. So, it's replacing classic for consumers, too.

(Which is interesting, because originally Hangouts was being announced to be pivoting to being business exclisive, with Hangouts classic for consumers left as-is with the implication that it, and consumer Hangouts as a thing, would eventually be killed, while Hangouts for business would be further developed, which is what Meet/Chat was. So it looks like Hangouts unpivoted.)

What company has a track record of indefinitely supporting products/services which have failed in the marketplace?

Automobile manufacturers. You can take an El Camino to a Chevy dealership.

Wow, whole different issue. That's a franchise dealership essentially an independant garage with a dealer logo slapped on the front. The garage then has to source parts and I'm willing to bet the supply of OEM El Camino bumpers ran dry a long time ago.

Few, but that isn't really the situation here. Google creates largely overlapping products that are bound to be consolidated or shut down altogether, and this is usually clear at the start. If I may rephrase:

What company has a track record of creating duplicate products/services and then abandoning them, allowing most to fail in the marketplace?

Google considers what most small startups would consider a success, a failure.

Google's main problem is that they only promote people for releasing new products. So all the engineers and product people are highly incentive to only work on new launches. Doesn't even matter what it is. So now they end up with all these garbage products laying around, none of which make them any money.

They also only care about stupid metrics. One google dev said they got given an old project and they found it was full of bugs and reporting loads of bad info so the dev added a bunch of tests that picked up on the bugs and bad data and then they were denied the promotion because the errors logged from the program they were working on went up since they started working on it.

this kind of nonsense will be the death of google

I'm not so sure. Googles core product is search and that has been fairly rock solid as long as it has existed. A lot of the fuckery has been around their other products and I think the company could probably afford to shut down most of them and continue to run fine.

I always wonder if the other projects are just retainer projects. They dont really care as much what happens, they just dont want those engineers on the open market.

I think they saw Microsoft miss the Next Big Thing™, and they're afraid it could happen to them, so they're investing in everything while the AdSense/AdWords cash cows last.

Google have all but eroded all trust in their chat products. I can't see anyone adopting anything they ever release in the future, they are going to have to purchase an existing successful product. I certainly wasn't going to use Allo or anything else after they killed Hangouts.

Personally, I will miss Hangouts more than Allo, and RCS is not an direct replacement for Hangouts either. One thing I hate about Allo is its use of phone number as user ID, so the same goes for RCS.

Just because I'm willing to chat with someone really doesn't mean I am willing to provide phone numbers to them.

Edit: Repeated Allo, where I meant RCS.

> Personally, I will miss Hangouts more than Allo, and RCS is not an direct replacement for Hangouts either.

The replacement for Hangouts is more Hangouts, not RCS (that is, per the article, Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are being opened to consumers next year, and are the official replacement for Hangouts classic for consumers, just as they already were for enterprise.)

> One thing I hate about Allo is its use of phone number as user ID, so the same goes for Allo.

I assume one of these Allos is supposed to be RCS?

I agree, I'm of the opinion "hangouts" isn't dead. I don't see them removing a chat option from gmail. So far, they've pretty much kept the consumer and enterprise gmail experience the same. I feel like Google knows that just setting an if(enterprise) and hiding hangouts in gmail would just piss a LOT of people off, so I full expect them to find the brand with the best available and flexible tech stack, and just merge hangouts and whatever else into one thing that they'll call something different but will still be mostly the same, in the exact same spot in gmail.

Seriously what the fuck is google doing?

Throwing shit at wall until something sticks?

Example: Google Talk, Messages, Hangouts, Allo

I think it's worse than that. It does stick. They actually hate it when it sticks, because that is when it becomes a career sink. That is, too important to the business for people to leave it behind but not important enough that maintaining it is promotion worthy. I strongly suspect that the reason so many products get shut down is not to do with financials or the product's actual usage and adoption, but because the there's a valley of death in which association with these products during this phase of their lifecycle is a negative career move within Google. So most likely really good engineers flee these products because they might become successful more than because they are failures / failing.

I still miss Google Chat. I spent at least a hundred hours using that, then they changed it to Google Talk and I used it maybe three more hours. Trash fire.

I miss both of those because they supported XMPP, but they dropped that as soon as they started gaining market share.

Wasn't chat just an extension of Google Talk into the gmail web client?

Gchat worked both in the browser and years after I started using it in browser as an app. Google Talk was a forced downgrade of a working app to an app that used way more data to not work for most practical purposes. I am ignorant of the technical details but Gchat worked and that was the first and last time I’ve spent more than ten minutes on a google chat platform.

They had a massive base of users in everyone who had a gmail account, many of whom used Gchat and they threw it away. It’s like if Apple managed to so badly screw up iMessage that it disappeared from use.

Yeah I think you have the history somewhat backwards. Gtalk was the original app and then it got integrated into Gmail as well. The abandonment of Gtalk and related bits is definitely one of those weird and seemingly inexplicable user-hating moves.

Who else remembers Google Wave?

Wave was at least trying to be innovative, even if the execution was fatally flawed. Allo just never had any reason to exist.

I fully agree with you. It was a product I actually used and enjoyed, then suddenly... puff

Now there's also "Meet". And "Duo". Or how about that time when they tried to merge SMS into Hangouts? What a trainwreck.

Google Talk was simply too good to exist. :(


So light it was floating over the wall

Only promoting people who launch new products, so they end up with a ton of useless new products.

Does anyone have a good alternative for someone who is not tech savvy at all and on an Android phone?

I set this up on my mom’s phone because she doesn’t get good enough cell reception at or around her place so an internet based messaging system works best. She is in very poor health and can barely hold the phone so something that doesn’t have a lot of small icons and in general just easy to setup and use would be great.

Setup a family slack. Works well, full media support. Options for bringing other people in and having family connection there, or you can just DM each other.

Slack is significantly more complex than most messaging apps.

Is it though, beyond the initial setup (team creation etc., which only needs to be done by a single person)?

The biggest requirement for a messaging app is that people you talk to need to be using it. How often does she use messaging, and who all does she communicate with the most? Start from there, and you'll soon find an obvious answer. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Kik, Signal, WeChat, Line, Skype, iMessage all work well.

Why not plain old voip? Works like a regular old phone and you can hook up a ton of devices because it’s an open standard.

Why not WhatsApp? Very simple interface, although rumour has it, ads might start appearing soon.

Or Signal, because it's not Facebook.

Skype is still everyone's go to.

I haven't used Skype outside of work for probably 10 years

It was a great idea... but then so was google plus... google buzz... the problem with a good idea is the people go where the people are. If they had only just bundled it as the default on Android One it may have just worked.

Another one to the cemetery https://killedbygoogle.com/

I don't really think it is fair to include hardware in that list. It makes sense to memorialize the death of a hardware line, but it doesn't really make sense to memorialize every single piece of hardware. That's a bit like memorializing every minor version of software that is superceded by a new version.

Even then, the list of hardware profiles taking a dirt nap is pretty long. Gone are the budget Nexus phones and any true Android tablets. All they have left are a laughable "flagship" phone, a high end Chromebook, and a kiloton of Nest smart home gadgets.

I miss Sparrow so much :'(

I think Allo is really cool. A lot of the features it had were pretty incredible.

BUT besides this I had a lot of problems.

1) It is not privacy oriented. (I still have _enough_ trust to Google that if they explicitly state something as privacy oriented I would believe them. But that's not their business model)

2) No one used it. I have more friends that use Signal than Allo. Even though I liked all the features, those aren't enough to push people over. I feel the only way it would have succeeded is if they completely replaced messenger with allo (I thought that was the plan).

But I hope Signal implements some of these features. Really what was useful is inline google searching. Possibly inline DDG searching?

Duo can't be that far behind then, can it? I can't even remember the last time I thought about it.

I think Duo has had more success.

IRC it is. Can Google not see the image that they project anymore?

Good to see the shuttering of Allo.

I'm sure I'm not the only one, but one of the big reasons I didn't use Allo was because they keep shuttering their apps.

I'm not going to use something I have doubts will last more than a year or two. I just don't have any use for such a product.

Snowden on Google Allo: ‘Don’t Use It’


Coincidentally, I uninstalled it a few hours ago before even reading this story. Feels good.

What’s Google recommanded messaging solution now? It seems a mess now.

The AI that makes decisions at Google should run for president in Madagascar[1]

[1] https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/shut-down-everything

What's app, Google? (pun intended)

g’bye, allo

[brit accent]

Looks like Google is finally discovering they are just a SCUMMY advertising company and shouldn't be building consumer products that don't directly feed into that advertising.

That would be a brilliant insight actually. I would love it if they didn't even try to make consumer products.

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