Google Allo elbows into the messaging app wars

Google / Tech
google allo

Allo brings stickers, doodles, Incognito encrypted messaging, Smart Replies, and Google Assistant preview to your smartphone.

Google Allo is finally arriving for Android and iOS devices. This new messaging app from Google is looking to replace apps like WhatsApp, but don’t expect it to become your new SMS app. Google Allo is very much like the rest of the messaging apps out there. You have stickers, doodles, huge emojis, and all the fun little things other apps have had for a long time. The key features Google is pushing here are Google Assistant (preview edition), and the ability for the app to learn your personality.

Of course this means you’ll have to give Google access to just about everything on your phone to get the best experience. Google Assistant can suggest movies or nearby restaurants, right within your current conversation with someone. You can also chat with your Assistant in its own chat window, and get useful information like current or future weather, game scores, flight information, and more. The more you use Google Assistant, the more useful it will become.

Some of the other features that Allo includes are Smart Reply, the ability to resize text, doodle or add text to images, and an incognito mode. The more you use Allo, the more it tailors its Smart Reply suggestions based on incoming messages, providing one click responses. When typing a message, sliding the enter arrow up and down will make your text larger or smaller, and you can easily doodle or add text to images that you send. Google Allo also offers an Incognito mode that allows you to send messages in private. When you start an Incognito chat, you’re enabling end-to-end encryption for your messages, and you can also set chats to expire, and even set private notifications.

There’s a few things I noticed in testing out Google Allo, but not sure if it’s because of the version I installed to check out while waiting for it to go live in the Google Play Store. As mentioned above, Allo won’t replace your SMS app — in fact, it doesn’t even handle SMS messages (go figure). One thing to keep in mind, while you can send someone without Allo a message, if they don’t have the app installed yet then the message comes in as a notification (at least on Nougat) from Google Play Services with the option to install the app, ignore the message, or quick reply.

If you have a Google Apps account (not @gmail), you may not get full Google Assistant integration either. I asked one of the default questions — “show me my emails” — and get a response saying that it can’t provide personal answers for my account, but I can change it in the account settings. After changing it in the account settings, it says that it can show personal data, yet asking the same question gets the can’t provide personal answers message again. This could be a lack of Google Apps support, or because it’s not the official store version of the app, but I’ll be keeping my eye on that one. Aside from that, Google Assistant certainly looks like it has promise.

Have you installed Google Allo yet? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Google
To Top