At this year’s Google I/O conference which was held earlier in the year, Google announced it was going to release a standalone messaging app, known as Allo, that is going to be different from Google Hangouts. The tentative date for the launch of the app was fixed for this summer.
We are now in the summer and the tech world is agog with rumours and leaks about the Allo app and naturally comparisons are being made with WhatsApp, dominant messaging app in the market right now.
When Allo was announced back in April, this is what we said about the new app from Google:
Allo is a messaging app from Google. The question is, is this a clear sign post that Google have lost faith in Google Hangouts and Gchat? Whatever the case, this seems like a ground zero move for the company. However, with Allo, they can now offer end-to-end encryption like other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber.
Security is not the standout feature of Allo though. It is the built-in chatbots in the app. The chatbots would include the aforementioned Google Assistant itself. Google is promising that Allo is going to blow our collective minds with the features it has.”
And from all the credible rumours floating around, Google Assistant has been incorporated into the app. The chatbot is there to make Allo more attractive than any other messaging app.
But in a world full of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber, will a new app like Allo pack enough features to dethrone WhatsApp?
Because anyhow you look at it, WhatsApp should be the target of Allo. Since one of the world’s biggest tech firm is pushing Allo, it only makes sense their ambition should not be limited to challenging the smaller players.
This is beginning feel like the Google + vs Facebook situation all over again. Only this time the names of the apps are different. When Google+ was launched, it was touted as the app to supplant Facebook in terms of popularity. But it did not quite happen that way.
Now the rumours are rife that sooner than later, Google would quietly rest Google+.
Let’s have a look at some of the features in Allo.
According to Google, the Smart Reply feature in Allo would get better over time. Think about how your Android keyboard’s predictive ability gets better and better the more you use it. That is how Smart Reply should work.
Powered by the Google’s virtual chatbot technology known as Google Assistant, the feature should be able to suggest replies for you based on the last message on your screen.
It is now left for you to pick the reply you desire. You can discard the suggestions and type out your reply of course. In which case, the feature would incorporate your choice for future use. With time, Smart Reply would be able to predict your replies to messages accurately saving you time.
Google Assistant in Allo is not restricted to predicting your replies to messages only. You can also use it to search for things like movies directly from the app.
To search for things using Allo, just type “@Google” in the app and Google Assistant would be activated to receive your voice commands.
Like Facebook’s Messenger Chatbot, Google Assistant is designed to handle almost everything you might need. The possibilities are limitless.
This is a feature that is all about security. Enabling Incognito mode means your chats are now encrypted end-to-end. Also there is a disappearing chats feature that can be programmed to self-destruct messages.
This feature should be fun to use. The best way to explain it is that one can use it to put emphasis on certain words or phrases to simulate shouting or talking quietly.
Using a slider by the side of the chatbox, you can enlarge letters or characters to simulate shouting or make the letters very small to simulate whispering, hence the name ‘Whisper Shout’
So instead of using exclamation marks and caps locks, Whisper Shout should be a different fun way to express your emotions.
These are out-sized emojis which can be used during chats. You can imagine how these emojis would work together with the Whisper Shout Feature.
To use Allo, Google is taking a different approach from all other services in the Google stable.
You don’t need a Google account to begin to enjoy the service. All you need, just like WhatsApp is your phone number. So if you had an aversion to having a Google account, you can still enjoy what Allo has to offer with just your phone number.
So would you use Allo? I think you should give it a shot when it is finally launched. You can head over to Play Store and register your number. That way you would get a notification when the app is eventually released.
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