Allo is Google’s new chat app with built-in ‘Assistant’

CIOL Writers
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Allo is Google’s new chat app with built-in ‘Assistant’

In the already crowded and competitive market of chat app, here comes another one. Well, Google Allo is everything a messaging app should be like plus one unique feature- Google Assistant, which leverages Google's machine-learning capabilities to answer your questions.


Announcing the availability of Google Allo, Amit Fulay, Group Product Manager, Google said, “Whether it’s planning a night out or just catching up, we rely on messaging to stay in touch with friends and family every day. But too often we have to hit pause on our conversation — whether it’s to check the status of a flight or look up that new restaurant. So we created Allo, a messaging app that helps you keep your conversation going, by providing assistance when you need it.”

Allo identifies you by your phone number verifying it with a text message. It doesn’t have any contact lists for you to maintain. It just piggybacks off your phone’s main contacts app. Like any other messaging app Allo sends pictures, lets you share fun stickers, works for group chats, and so on.

Also, you can tap and hold the "send" button and then scroll up and down to increase or decrease the size of text -- Google calls this "yelling" or "whispering." Google has also added in the "smart reply" feature that originated in Inbox. It'll analyze the content of your chats or photos and offer suggestions.


All chats in Google Allo are encrypted using industry standard technologies like Transport Layer Security (TLS). And similar to Chrome, there is a created mode within Google Allo called Incognito. When users chat in Incognito mode, messages have end-to-end encryption and additional privacy features like discreet notifications and message expiration.

But the Assistant is what really sets Allo apart from other chat apps, and it can offer you a world of information depending on whether you're in a private chat with it or bringing it into a conversation with other human beings. Google is calling this a "Preview Edition" of the Assistant.

Whether it's about a nearby restaurant or a gas station, it answers all of those with great ease. People who have used it are calling it an intimate conversational tool that answers all your queries. Basically, it lets you bring info from around the internet right into your conversations without having to jump back and forth between apps.


There is another fascinating element in there. Every time the Google Assistant responds, you get little-suggested replies underneath it. These "suggestion chips" are shortcuts to manually typing out follow-up questions. You might ask for the weather, for example, and then want to follow up by seeing the weather for next week.

Coming to the downside, the ‘Assistant’ is not your one stop destination for all your needs as it calls itself. Many times, tapping on various items will bounce you out to your browser, and while you can look up a bunch of restaurants with friends, you can't actually book one through OpenTable right in the app, for example.

So the question comes down to is ‘Assistant’ potent ammunition for Google to take on likes of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or iMessage, some of which have billion plus users? The answer at this point of time is, unfortunately, a No because Assistant still feels like it needs a lot of working and beyond assistant, there’s not much that could pull you into using this app.