Rehan HoodaSep 21, 2016 12:44:11 IST
Google has finally launched the much anticipated messaging app by the company, Google Allo. It was previously reported that that messaging app would launch today. Allo is the part of communication platform made in conjunction with Google Duo. Duo was released some time back by the company, and it focused on video whereas Google Allo is focused on text communication along with sending media such as photos, audio messages, stickers and locations.
You can start using Allo by going to Google Play Store and installing it on your Android device. The interface is pretty bare bones but quite functional for a messaging app. When you launch the app for the first time, the app asks you to verify your mobile number similar to how things work on Google Duo. The SMS verification servers seem to be in place for Allo verification. After the verification, the app asks you to set a profile picture and name.
The app interface is reminiscent to how Google Hangout looks like (but without all the features in Hangouts). Nothing has changed since the leaked screenshots for Google Allo in alpha stage. On launching, you get the first (and only) surprise that Google Allo holds, that is "Google Assistant", the bot by Google while will replace Google Now in the upcoming update, Android Nougat 7.1. It is a vital part of the experience provided by Google Assistant and a step away from how popular messaging apps work. Google Assistant is what Cortana from Microsoft and Siri from Apple are, but inside a chat window currently. The bot is labelled as 'Preview Edition' but in the limited tests that we ran, Assistant left us impressed coming from Google Now as the previous native offering in Android.
While diving into the chat experience, Allo does the basics of sending text, photos shot from the front or back camera, pictures from gallery, stickers and location. You can send 20 photos at a time in Allo from the ten photos limited on WhatsApp. Another small change is that in the notifications area, the app shows smart response as a quick reply to contacts who message you. Machine learning is working full time to suggest bubble shape cards in the chat as appropriate message responses to the conversations. Finally, you can search inside your conversations, as against the searchless realm that Google Hangouts are.
There is nothing new when you dive in the Profile section or the General settings menu, and there are just small things like controlling the notifications, sounds, vibration and to download the media when you receive it. There is no status updates or message that you can set for people in your contact list to read.
The reason we mentioned that the chatting experience is different from how it is in the conventional messaging is apps is that you can summon Google Assistant in your private conversations to ask questions, play games or device on dinner options or the movie options. This brings a whole different side to the concept of user privacy and the only remedy seen is the use of incognito chat with other users.
Incognito mode features auto-destruct messages just like Snapchat which expire after a fixed amount of time depending on the settings. Infact, you can turn Google Allo into an almost functioning Snapchat clone except Stories or ability to check who saw your stories.
The summon behaviour is consistent across individual as well as group chats where you can call in Google Assistant to ask questions and suggestions on places nearby. However, you can't tag Google Assistant in incognito chats. Apart from this nothing much stands out in the latest messaging app by Google, Google Allo.
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