Google allows businesses to register themselves through Google My Business, where they can adjust the information that appears on their Google search/Google Maps listings. They can add a phone number, change opening hours, respond to reviews, and so on. A new feature is rolling out in the My Business dashboard that allows customers to directly message companies via SMS.
The new Message button, as seen in Google search results.
The feature is a bit complicated, so allow me to explain. A business can add a new ‘Message’ button to their listing, and when someone taps on it, it opens their SMS app. Messages are sent via SMS to a proxy number (likely powered by Google Voice), which are then received by the business. The business owner can choose to receive texts via SMS or through Allo.
Left: Receiving messages from users via Allo; Right: Receiving messages from users via SMS
There doesn’t appear to be any benefit with using Allo in this situation, except it’s easier to tell at a glance which messages are from Google and which are from the user. Allowing (potential) customers to directly contact businesses with questions is definitely a good idea, but I expect most companies will choose to receive messages through SMS and not Allo.