Is Google’s Allo the Answer to Facebook Messenger?

Google Allo

The new Google Allo messaging app is one that takes advantage of machine language algorithms to help users find the answers they seek.

Available on both Android and iOS, the Allo instant messaging app comes to join the likes of Google Hangouts in the search engine’s list of chat apps, but it has something different to offer than any of Google’s offerings. Rather than just come in with the usual abilities for chatting with friends and family, the app also lets you get answers to different questions. In short, there is no need to leave your current conversation in order to seek an answer from Google.

Rather than switch from Hangouts to Chrome in order to Google for more details regarding that restaurant your friend has invited you to, the new Allo app will let you ask the question right from within the app. There is the option of asking Google questions one-on-one like with the case of Siri or simply have it pop into your chats when conversing with friends.

The next billion users

Google wants more than a billion users added to its current user base and as it seems, Allo is just what the company needed. Apparently, Google has offerings that include Maps, Chrome, YouTube, and Gmail – all of which account for a billion users individually. The Google Allo app is where the company is targeting to fish its next one billion users.

Since Allo poses itself as a social app, it will be going up against the likes of Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger, with the latter the better case in point. At the time of this writing, Facebook Messenger already offers organizations with a chance to sell their services via the chat app through what are known as chatbots. While this is very close to what Allo is offering, the Google app takes things to the next level by suggesting intelligent answers to prompts made by your chat mates.

Google included a featured known as Smart Reply in Allo. With this feature, the app attempts to recognize what your friends are saying, be it the text or pictures they share, and then suggest answers you can tap to reply rather than type. This is possible because the app makes use of the same machine learning network available in Google Photos app. In addition, the app learns your pattern of using certain phrases and it will adopt them when suggesting smart replies.

Google Allo

One issue with this Smart Reply feature is that it will have Google analyzing your entire text and photo messaging history. But the good side of the story is that there is a way to opt out of this with the help of the Incognito mode. When this mode is enabled, you will enter into an end-to-end encrypted chat environment – an offering similar to WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption.

With this kind of protection, you will be promised of secure messaging that keeps your personal data private. Allo also comes with features such as the ability to share photos directly from the camera roll as well as “shout” or “whisper” in a message by changing the font size of texts.

Unlike Google Hangouts, you only need a phone number to register for Google Allo services. The app will scan your contact list and populate its own list based on the people you already know.

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