Google has finally made their Allo app official! After a demo at the Google IO held in May and countless rumors later the app is finally here. The Allo app was showcased alongside the Google Duo app which made its debut a few weeks ago. Allo is a messaging app that goes up against the likes of popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat and the likes. This isn’t the first time Google has tried its hand at making a messaging app. After GTalk and Hangouts, this is the tech giant’s third attempt to crack the messaging space. How is Allo to use? Is it good? Let’s find out.
Allo pretty much looks like every other messenger out there. All it needs is your mobile number for setup and you are in. Google quickly associates the mobile number with the Gmail ID in the phone on Android. Allo lets you send messages, pictures, videos and location like every other messenger app out there. The one thing that stands out with Allo is the Google Assistant integration. Allo allows users to summon this assistant in any chat by typing @google. This assistant is pretty much like Google Now integrated into chat.
Google Assistant is capable of suggesting replies based on where the conversation is headed. Apart from that, it is also capable of suggesting places to go and show recommendations on things to do right inside the chat. This is Google’s way of eliminating the step of going and running a search on the web. The Assistant also accepts commands which are then sent across to Google Now for execution. Google clearly states that the Assistant is currently a preview edition and we can expect the final version to be available after the 4th Oct event.
Chatting with a user is the same experience. There is no last seen here and there is no way of knowing when the recipient was last online. Allo uses the same signs to denote if your message has been sent, delivered and read just like WhatsApp. Like showcased at the Google IO, Allo allows users to Yell or Whisper by changing the font size of the text. This, Google says, is to express ourselves better. One has to press and hold the send button and the swipe up to increase the font or swipe down to decrease it. While this feature exists, there are no indicators and it is easy for people to miss this completely.
The app comes with support for stickers and users can use it if the hundreds of emojis fall short. There are close to 25 stickers packs to choose from. Allo also allows users to scribble on photos before sending it across. There is also an incognito mode built in that offers end-to-end encryption and also deletes the messages after a set time. Apps like Telegram have had this feature for quite some time along with an app lock to secure messages completely. Allo does not have these features at the moment.
Google Allo managed to generate quite a buzz before its official launch. With WhatsApp being the current market leader it’ll be interesting to see what Google does to push Allo.