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Google Bids Goodbye to Instant Messaging App ‘Allo’

"It's far from universal, but now that Google is focused on just a single messaging app, it has a better chance of gaining some momentum,"

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

After pausing investments in its “Allo” mobile messaging app, Google has finally bid goodbye to the platform that was launched with much fanfare in 2016.

A banner across the official Allo website confirmed that March 12 was its last day in operation, The Verge reported on Monday.

“During our time together, we brought you a smarter way to chat, with features like the Google Assistant, ‘Allo’ for web and selfie stickers but now the app is signing off,” the banner on Allo’s page read.

Last year in April, Anil Sabharwal, the head of the communications group at Google told the media that “Allo” as a product did not achieve the level of traction the company had hoped for.

Even though the app’s successor is not quite ready yet, Google has incorporated some of Allo’s features like smart replies and desktop support into the Android Messaging app.

Google on an Android device. Pixabay

“We’re working to bring your favorite features to the Messages app so you can have richer conversations with all your friends. If you have an Android phone, we hope you’ll try Messages!” the banner said.

“Allo” was launched as an instant messaging mobile app for the Android and iOS mobile Operating Systems (OS), with a web client available on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera browsers.

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After Allo’s exit, Google is going all in on Rich Communication Services (RCS) — the successor to SMS that’s been a long time coming — to give Android a successful messaging app.

“It’s far from universal, but now that Google is focused on just a single messaging app, it has a better chance of gaining some momentum,” The Verge said. (IANS)

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EU Fines Google $1.7 bn for Unfair Online Ad Rules

This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

The European Union’s antitrust regulators on Wednesday fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, the European Commission (EC) said in a statement.

“Today the Commission has fined Google 1.49 billion euros for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts,” EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

It is the third EU fine for Google in just two years.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” Vestager said.

The Commission said the fine which is equivalent to 1.29 per cent of Google’s turnover in 2018 takes account of the duration and gravity of the infringement.

“The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition,” Vestager said.

Websites such as newspaper websites, blogs or travel sites aggregators often have a search function embedded.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California.

When a user searches using this search function, the website delivers both search results and search adverts, which appear alongside the search result.

Through AdSense for Search, Google provides these search adverts to owners of “publisher” websites.

Google is an intermediary, like an advertising broker, between advertisers and website owners that want to profit from the space around their search results pages.

Therefore, AdSense for Search works as an online search advertising intermediation platform.

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Google was by far the strongest player in online search advertising intermediation in the European Economic Area (EEA), with a market share above 70 per cent from 2006 to 2016.

Google’s provision of online search advertising intermediation services to the most commercially important publishers took place via agreements that were individually negotiated.

The Commission reviewed hundreds of such agreements in the course of its investigation and found that starting in 2006, Google included exclusivity clauses in its contracts.

This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages, the European Commission said. (IANS)