Yet another messaging app, but with a worthwhile twist, according to Google, and that’s the inclusion of Google Assistant, which uses AI in order to bring a conversational tone to your messages. Google Assistant uses Google’s search database to answer questions like “What restaurants are nearby?” or “How do you say ‘dog’ in Spanish?” It also incorporates some fun games, like a geography quiz.
Google Assistant especially proves its worth when the app is open, so you can ask it verbal questions, and you want to look up something without leaving it. In a group chat setting, this is a useful feature, since as soon as you search for “best Chinese place”, the results will appear right on the chat thread.
Allo also makes use of Smart Reply, that allows you to quickly punch up an autogenerated response to questions like “Are you busy”? Obviously, you can’t have a fully-fledged conversation with anyone using SmartReply, but it’s a nifty time-saving feature. SmartReply even expands over into responses to photographs, so if you see a picture of a baby, it will be ready with a response like “so cute!” It can also recognize monuments in photographs.
If you don’t want Google snooping on your chats, you can always use Incognito Mode. This disables the Google Assistant and SmartReply features, but in exchange you get to use end-to-end encryption so neither Google nor any other third party apps can be privy to your conversations. Plus, you can set an expiration time for your chat to disappear. You can also block contacts (which is also doable in the default mode).
Allo also allows you to send fun stickers to your friends and doodle on images before sending them. You can also figuratively shout by increasing the text size, or whisper by doing the opposite. Plus, Allo’s distinctive benefits include its being cross-platform so you can chat with both iOS and Android users.
Allo also makes use of intensive simplification – there aren’t any contacts list for you to maintain as it simply uses the ones on your main contacts app. Friends who also use Allo will simply show up on top. iOS users who don’t have the app, however, will receive an SMS with your name, the contents of the message and a link to download the app. They can then either download the app or simply SMS back. Android users, on the other hand, will receive a notification directly to the device instead of going through the SMS, and this notification will look like the app was already installed. The recipient can then go on to reply within the notification, or install the app.