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Let’s Talk Allo!

Randy RayessRandy Rayess

It’s been awhile since messenger apps came into existence and changed the way we communicated forever. Not only did they make communication faster but equally engaging to use. The latest name to be added to the name of messenger apps is Google Allo which was launched fairly recently on September 21, 2016. It has been launched for both Android and iOS and seems to be Google’s bid in making it to the front of the already crowded messaging app market.

There has been lots of features that have been bundled in Allo to differentiate it from the other messaging apps. While apps like Whatsapp and Facebook, despite of various updates, have done little to add to the user experience and more intriguing features, Allo comes with a box full of surprises. It has built itself on top of the existing messenger apps, combined their interesting points and on top of that has added its own new ones.

Google Allo comes with a wide range of emojis, stickers, doodles, the ability to draw on images like Snapchat, individual and group chats. On top of these basic features, they have provided HUGE emojis & text, customized text size which they call as “shout” and “whisper” for emphasis. They have also integrated it with Google Assistant, a conversational virtual assistant.

But what really sets it apart is its virtual assistant. It has truly made the app very interesting and enjoyable. The user can play riddles, chat games, quiz games, doodle games and classic games. When asked “what can you do?” the virtual assistant pops up with a variety of ideas to make this app really interesting and gives the user opportunity to explore. It can assist you with subscriptions, games, recite a poem, give you quick answers, scan your area for restaurants, news, translation, travel or just idle chat. PC World’s Mark Hachman gave a favorable review of Allo’s virtual assistant, saying that it was a “step up on Cortana and Siri”.

The app also comes with a Smart Reply feature and by that we don’t mean a disastrous autocorrect. It really does help you with the answers, as in not just one word. It helps you in keeping your conversion by suggesting appropriate text or emoji based responses. According to their website, it’ll even figure out if you’re more of a “haha” or “lol” person so the more you use Google Allo, the more “you” the suggestions become.

There have been many discussions over the security Allo will provide regarding encryptions and privacy since its announcement  at Google I/O on May 18, 2016. Google will give users the option to use Allo in ‘incognito’ mode, where chats are encrypted end-to-end, with discreet notifications — features that Google says it plans to continue to iterate on and update. Incognito mode also comes with expiring chats so the user can control how long their messages stick around.

With Google’s machine learning technology, incognito security and smart personal assistant, Allo is surely the dark horse holding its own against the giants established in the market. For such an AI equipped messenger app, it has surprisingly a very simple UI and a very engaging experience. It has surely managed to fire up the market with its innovation and will definitely inspire many more to come. Allo will be the first place users can interact with Assistant, but Google will bring it to more and more of its products, including its Google Home smarthome hub voice-activated assistant, which is due for release later this year to rival Amazon’s Echo and Alexa. But all in all, Google Allo is definitely a must try and will be a breath of fresh air to the users of the existing messenger apps.

CoFounder at VenturePact Passionate about software, marketplace startups & remote work. Previously at SilverLake Partners, Ampush and Wharton.