Google wants to shake up the way that people communicate with each other and it believes that Allo will do just that, by integrating AI (artificial intelligence) elements with every day communication methods. Duo, a new video calling app, has also been announced for users between Android and iOS to communicate with each other. Both of these apps will be available to iOS and Android users in the summer of this year.
Allo is Google’s new smart messaging app that uses your phone number to find other friends who are also on Allo. It offers new ways to send messages and lets users be more expressive with stickers, emoji, Ink, and Whisper Shout, which lets you enlarge text to “WhisperShout” in conversations.
Allo also will have a Smart Reply built into it which learns how you answer to messages and images with people and can predict what kind of answers you might reply to a friend’s messages with. “The more you use Allo, the more ‘you’ the suggestions become.” Smart Reply will even be able to analyze photos you’re sent in order to suggest what kind of replies you might send. For example, if you’re sent a picture of a taco, Smart Reply might suggest you reply with “yummy” or “I love tacos”.
Allo will also bring the Google Now assistant directly into the conversations. You’ll be able to bring Google searches into conversations with your friends in case you want to prove something to a friend, check sports scores, or search for restaurants. Allo includes a personal assistant too, you can chat with an AI-powered bot that will help you find out about stocks, sports, or an ongoing flight.
And finally, because of the AI involved, Google wants to protect your privacy and offers an incognito mode with end-to-end encryption and discreet notifications. Hangouts offers a similar feature that’s been around since the days of Google Talk, and that was to chat with someone ‘off the record’ so to speak.
Duo promises to be a fast one-to-one video calling app with connections of all types between Android and iOS users. And just like Allo, Duo is based on your phone number so you can communicate with your contacts who already have Allo.
Duo features a new kind of feature called “knock knock” that lets recipients stream the caller’s feed even before answering the video call. Video will be in crisp HD up to 720p and will automatically adjust the quality of the stream depending on whether the user has an unstable connection or connected to a spotty tower. Duo also promises to seamlessly transition calls between cellular and Wi-Fi data.
Both Allo and Duo will launch for Android and iOS in the summer. It’s about time Google did something about Hangouts and it looks like Google plans to keep Hangouts and Allo as two unique products for now. Eventually we’d love to see Google do successfully with a messaging platform that also incorporates SMS into the mix. We just hope it doesn’t turn into another Hangouts/SMS merging confusion.