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Google finally launches its Allo messaging app

By midian182 ยท 6 replies
Sep 21, 2016
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  1. Back in May, it was reported that Google would be entering the crowded and highly competitive messaging app market with its own service, called Allo. At the time, the search giant said it would launch this summer. Now, as the season draws to a close, the app is finally rolling out today.

    The mobile-only Allo works across both Android and iOS. And while it includes the usual features found in pretty much every other messaging platform, such as group chats, stickers, and images, Google will be hoping that Allo’s machine learning capabilities will help it stand out from the pack.

    Like WhatsApp, you sign up to Allo using your phone number. Once it verifies your identity, it scans your address book for contacts that are also using the app.

    One of the main features of Allo is its inclusion of the “smart replies” system, which is also found in Google’s Inbox product. It offers short, contextually generated responses, including emojis, that users can tap on instead of typing out a reply. It becomes smarter the more you use it, eventually offering better and more appropriate suggestions.

    The other AI-powered part of Allo comes in the form of Google Assistant. Essentially an extension of Google Now, you can ask the smart bot questions and get it to perform tasks. It can also join in other conversations with your friends. The assistant is still in a “Preview” edition, so it may not be working perfectly just yet. Additionally, it’s set to appear in other Google products such as its smart speaker, Google Home.

    Limiting Allo to mobile may be a risky move for Google. The service isn't available on the web, tablet, or desktop, though the company did say it will look at expanding to other platforms eventually.

    Allo does have an incognito mode that activates WhatsApp-style end-to-end message encryption. It’s not turned on by default as Google says it stops the messenger’s machine learning element from working.

    It remains to be seen if Allo’s AI features will be enough to help it compete against the likes of Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Kik. While many other apps also offer chat bots, Google Assistant comes with a lot more functions, which could ultimately boost its popularity.

    One thing that could hamstring Allo is Google reneging on its promise that non-incognito conversations would only be stored temporarily on its servers. According to Google, this is to improve the Smart Replies feature.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Tuxie

    Tuxie TS Rookie

    Great, yet another chat app. :p Integrate it with Hangouts and I may consider it.
  3. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Guru Posts: 321   +62

    How long before it becomes abandonware?
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,981   +2,872

    I might take it for a spin around the block one of these days, it can't be any worse than that crappy Hangouts app of theirs.
  5. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,686   +350

    I only need one messaging app. I really don't care for the plethora of offerings that are now floating about app stores. I wouldn't have Whatsapp if it wasn't for my wife using it.

    It's funny that a protocol for messaging(XMPP) and clients like Trillian that use this can actually have cross chat system compatibility yet it seems that each messaging app is trying to isolate us and make us all use their platform. Obviously this is to their benefit as they have methods of monetizing your signing up to their chat system. I personally would like a modern Trillian that can connect all messaging systems together. All these attempts to isolate to me are counterintuitive to the ideology of "social" media. "I can't chat with you unless you download and signup to Whatsapp" etc.

    I use a messaging app for writing messages to my friends much as I would use SMS back in the day. I don't need a store of stupid stickers I can buy to send to my friends or video call functionality or anything else... I feel old.
  6. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 594   +58

    Well this was a disappointment. I had high hopes after Duo. And then I figure this would be the ultimate messaging app. Instead we get something that's just trying to replace all the other old apps. And they had Hangouts. Why not just improve upon that? Knowing Google, they'll stop supporting this app soon enough.
  7. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,161   +548

    I use a text messaging app that handles sms/mms. Other than that, I use the PHONE.

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