Wednesday, March 29th, 2023 12:24:47

Google Allo Can it outsmart other chat Apps?

Updated: October 21, 2016 12:13 pm

Google has launched a smart

messaging app called Allo, which it hope will rival WhatsApp, Facebook’s Messenger and Apple’s iMessage.  Where Allo differs from these already popular messaging apps is in its “smart” abilities: it can reply to messages for you and has an in-app assistant called “@google” that can search the internet, play videos and offer restaurant suggestions.

The app, which is available for iOS and Android users, draws on Google’s machine learning software to learn how its users talk in order to generate more appropriate suggested responses over time.

How it works

Users are not required to have a Google account to use Allo, but can sign up to it with a mobile phone number – making it a bit more like WhatsApp and iMessage than Hangouts or Messenger.

Once you have downloaded the Allo app, you will need to give it permission to access your contacts so you can start group or individual conversations.

The four best features of Allo

The @google Asistant

Google’s virtual assistant can pull information from the internet, embed YouTube videos within a chat and provide up-to-the-minute information.

You can ask @google private questions in the virtual assistant’s dedicated channel, such as “What are the headlines right now?” and “What’s the weather for today like?”

Or you can call on the Assistant within messages to your friends. For example, you can say “@google What restaurants are near us?” or “@google can you play us Honey Singh’s latest YouTube video?”

Built with machine learning, @google is designed to get better with time. Google says the Assistant that is now available in Allo is a “preview” of an advanced AI virtual assistant that can answer your questions and provide information within messages.

Automatic responses

The app can suggest automatic replies to save users time when they’re on the move. While the suggested messages  may appear initially bland, the software that powers them contains machine  learning that should pick up each users’ idioms. “Whether you’re a ‘haha’ or ‘lol’ kid of person, Smart Reply will improve over time and adjust to your style of conversation,” said Google.

Image recognition

Allo also draws on Google’s image recognition software for Smart Reply, meaning that it can spot the difference between a cat or baby and suggest responses such as “aww cute baby”.

Image illustration and different sized messages

Google’s Allo also contains some of the playful features of Apple’s new iMessage and Facebook’s Messenger, such as the ability to scribble on pictures, send larger and smaller versions of text messages, and custom-designed stickers.

Can it succeed?

Allo is far from Google’s first attempt at a messaging app, but it is designed to pull in social users as opposed to the office workers that tend to use Hangouts, which runs through Google email accounts.   The key unique feature of the app is the smart assistant, which can pull information into conversations quickly. Other platforms are moving towards smarter messaging, with Apple introducing third party apps for iMessage and Facebook launching bots for Messenger. But neither of those are quite as useful and easy as Allo’s @google.  As Allo works on both iOS and Android, and with phone numbers it is arguably more accessible than either iMessage or Messenger.

by Sanjay K bissoyi

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