Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced Allo, its latest messaging app, in May at the Google I/O confab. Now, the app is available for free for iOS and Android phones. Allo looks similar to many other messaging apps already on the market. The difference between Allo and the others is its deep integration with Google’s artificial intelligence.
People use their phones for messaging more than almost anything else. Allo has basic editing tools that make it easy for everyday use. The app has features that let you draw on photos, send stickers, and send media from your phone. There is a Sticker Marketplace inside the app with more than two-dozen available sticker packs available for free, for now.
Dragging the send button up or down, you can enlarge or decrease the size of your outgoing text and emojis. You can also subscribe to have Google to deliver information, like news and stock prices, each day at a designated time. The app also allows you to send standard SMS texts to people who don’t have the app.
When anyone sends you a message, Allo provides you with suggested replies that can be sent from the notifications screen or within the app by tapping just once. The suggested replies reduce the amount of time it takes to send a coherent response to a message by a considerable amount. The replies currently come from a default list for all users, but in the future, Google’s AI will suggest personalized phrases based on people’s speech. Allo can also provide reply suggestions that are triggered by photos. The app uses checkmarks to let you known when your messages have been sent, received and read.
A chat helper called “Google Assistant” is also included in the app. The assistant works a lot like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa and can answer questions about basically anything. It uses a similar AI to Google Now to process the requests and uses data Google has already collected from all of its other services. In a chat thread, the answers can be shared to everyone in the chat. You also begin a one-on-one chat with the Google Assistant directly. Google reportedly plans to incorporate Open Table into the Allo/Google Assistant experience, but other third party partners have yet to be revealed.
The last important feature is entirely focused on security. Incognito Modem an opt-in feature, enables end-to-end encryption for the messages using the Signal Protocol, currently the best standard in the industry. It can also modify the level of security between two users at various levels. Incognito Mode also lets you set an expiration on any of your messages when they will delete forever. However, Google Assistant cannot be used in Incognito Mode.