Google has launched Allo, its new intelligent messaging app. Allo combines now-standard messaging features like stickers, changing font sizes and marked-up photos with Google Assistant, an intelligent chat AI that brings Google's services to your conversations, and Smart Reply.
Google Assistant comes in two forms. The first form is a one-on-one chat in which you can request information from Google's services, similar to Google Now. Users can find out sports scores, the weather, search for restaurants, check travel time or flight status, and more.
The second form is within your conversations. Google Assistant can be brought into chats by tagging the service in a message line and issuing a command. For example, a user can type "@google show me local burrito places" and Google Assistant will show you local burrito places. Users can also bring in other forms of information, like Google Search, Images and YouTube results. However, Google points out that Google Assistant is in "preview edition" and isn't complete. To help improve Assistant, users can submit real-time feedback with conversations.
Allo also comes with a feature called Smart Reply. The app can learn your texting habits and suggest quick replies for more basic communication. Allo can, for instance, learn whether you're more prone to using "lol" or "haha," or whether you like to say "sup?" or "hey how's it going." Once it figures out your reply patterns, it can suggest basic responses. Smart Reply can also adjust to how you respond to certain people. As BuzzFeed notes, it can change its suggestions based on whether you're talking to your wife or boss.
Google stores the chat data on its servers, but has also extended its Incognito private mode to Allo. Incognito mode comes with end-to-end encryption and self-destructing chats. Users can set time limits for their messages, setting them to self-destruct after 10 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute, an hour, a day, or longer (via The Verge).
Allo is only available for iPhones and Android phones and, like WhatsApp, uses a phone number for registration. The app is currently rolling out and propagating through Apple's App Store services. Allo was first announced in May, at Google's annual I/O event alongside Android Nougat, Android Wear 2.0, and Duo.
Allo is available in the App Store for free. [Direct Link]