After Google's multiple attempts at entering the messaging space went futile, eyebrows were raised when they brought in a new messaging app to the family that already has Hangout for messaging and Duo for video chats. One user even commented, “Don't get the point of both (Allo & Duo), when they already have Hangout. Now there are four different apps from Google focusing on different aspects of one feature - communication.”
Allo was made available on both Android phones and iPhones from Tuesday and the first nods are that of approval. Unlike the predecessors, the AI-powered Allo brings most of the Google messaging features under one umbrella. The cool and fun app hopes to steal away users from rivals through the simple interface and a set of novel features.
Bot, your best friend
In an industry dominated by dozens of messaging apps including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Telegram, it takes more than a few gimmicks to penetrate the user spectrum. But then, Google has the ultimate weapon with them, the 'Google search'. The best feature Allo introduced so far is the Google Assistant, which stands in line (or a step above) with Apple's intelligent personal assistant Siri.
In comparison with the rivals, Google Assistant sounds more natural and has a personality with an impeccable sense of humor. You can ask questions to the Assistant, do voice search, translation, and a whole lot of things you do via Google Search. Assistant can even participate in your conversations as you summon it by simply entering @google. With this feature, you don't have to leave the chat to search for a location, a food joint or your favorite YouTube video.
Currently the Assistant is available only in English though vernacular versions are speculated to be in the store soon.
Let 'em talk for you
Then they have the Smart Reply feature, which is either uber-cool or super-creepy. Taking a step further with text predictions, Allo actually predict message responses. Send a photo of the carnival you are at to a friend, reply suggestions “having fun?” will pop up on their app. Send them a sad smiley, their app will suggest asking “what's wrong?”. This way, you can keep the conversation going for centuries without typing a word.
Another new thing in the rack is the ability to make text appear bigger or smaller by pressing and holding the send button to get a text size adjustment bar.
There are currently just under 30 sticker packs in Allo, some of them are exclusive. Yet they failed to score as rival Telegram offers a much exciting feature of custom stickers with which the Stickers bot helps user to generate their own emoji-replacements.
Google seems to have splitting up their features to separate products lately, instead of going for a sophisticated all-in-one app that is big and bloated. Narrowing down the roles makes it easier for users to choose what is right for them.
However, the cross-platform celestial missed out other device user base largely as Allo will not be available on the web, on desktop or on tablets. It is hard to turn a blind eye towards that as other players in the field made it sure long back to cater desktop and tablet users.
Yet, Allo has its perks. The incognito window, much like the Telegram secret chat allows you to set an expiry for the messages which will auto delete at the time set. Well, it would definitely excite all the WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger users out there anyway.
So, want to show off the cool app you are using before your friends? Simply send an app preview notification to their Android phones and let them crave.