In a surprising turn of events, Google unveiled a brand new messaging application for iOS and Android called “Allo” (pronounced like “Aloe”) at their annual developer conference in San Fransisco. The main feature it highlights is Google’s new and more interactive “Assistant” platform which provides a more natural way to interact with search queries. Allo also mostly represents Google’s fresh approach to communication and unexpectedly, it won’t be interfering with the currently available “Hangouts” app.
Along with the basics that a chat app is supposed to come with including stickers, sending media, delivery indicators, Allo also packs a new unique functionality titled “WhisperShout” through which you can drag your finger up or down to resize texts for better context. For instance, if you want to shout and using capital alphabets isn’t enough, you can enlarge the message. It allows you to sign up with a phone number and a Google account, however, the latter isn’t compulsory. But of course, this application won’t exist if it weren’t for the one big feature – Google Assistant.
With Google’s much more conversational search assistant, Allo lets you execute and receive appropriate information from the search engine straight into a conversation. You can fire up this feature by adding “@Google” before any text and based on the questions, you and your friend can get relevant results. Another exciting breakthrough this brings are suggestions based on what you searched before or what message you received from the sender. For instance, if you’re talking about dinner plans, it brings up reservations options from a particular website. Additionally, it will recommend replies for you that Google proudly calls “suggestion chips”. Everything this application achieves hints at violating user privacy but the company claims everything is “on the wire” which means that nobody on the internet can read them as you send your message. Moreover, they can be end-to-end encrypted if you get into the incognito mode. Hence, Google has been extremely careful about privacy here based on the increasing crime rates online.
Google’s Allo messaging platform does sound like the perfect deal, however, according to me, there are two major shortcomings it faces as of now. First is, WhatsApp and other platforms already have Billions of users in their pocket making it extremely difficult for Google to make them switch. Second is that this will be a “mobile-only” application when almost every company out there is now releasing web/desktop clients. Additionally, Google already has a ton of messaging applications in the store right now including Hangouts, Messenger, Google Voice making it a bit confusing for users, I hope they simplify things as soon as possible. Despite all these drawbacks, Allo sounds absolutely promising and smart with Google’s data graph.