Google launches Allo: a messaging app that makes you leave Facebook Messenger
There’s another new messaging app out today called Allo, and is this one’s worth a download.
While Facebook has been working to integrate bots with Messenger, Google went ahead and built a messaging app around the most useful bot there is: Google Allo.
Allo, which was announced in May but is now available for download, attached with Google search with many of the fun features people have grown accustomed to using in other apps.
There is group chatting, stickers and the option to let messages expire. The big thing that’s missing is the ability to make video and audio calls, which was intentional.
For those functions, Google wants users to get on Duo, its dedicated video calling app launched in August.
Both are free, available for Android and iOS, and designed to simplify mobile messaging. Google says they’re “companion apps.” (Google Hangouts lovers need not fret — the app will still stick around, but Google is gearing the service toward enterprise users.)
Here’s a more detailed look at what makes Allo great:
Allo knows what you might say:
Google is calling Allo a “smart messaging app” because it learns from your conversations and suggests things for you to say.
The suggested responses pop up in text bubbles you can send by tapping. The recommendations are sufficient for the most part and can save users time, but are very basic and can feel a little impersonal.
Allo gives smart response:
During a recent test chat, Allo suggested “Very good!” to a message that read “How are you?” The app also thought we might say “Haha,” “Nice,” or “Yeah,” after we received a message that said “Interesting.” And when we got a picture message of a happy child, Allo suggested saying “Love that smile.”
Over time, Allo will learn if you prefer to say “haha” or “lol,” so the more you use the predictive feature, the better it will get at mimicking your speech style.
Allo is great for making plans:
You can also start a standalone chat with Google by messaging the Google Assistant account. It works just like Google but feels more like a conversation and less like a search and retrieval interaction.
At its core, the Google Assistant inside of Allo is just like a chat bot, one of the much hyped trends on tech platforms this year. Facebook (FB, Tech30) has made a huge push for this inside its own messaging service, Messenger, but requires you to know which bots you want to talk to.