Google is the AI company. It is the company which is known for search, maps and Android too. It was also known for chat back in the day of Google Talk. Off late, it has missed quite a few buses – social networking and messaging are two big ones. Back at Google I/O in May, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a new take on the chat experience, called Allo. This new take on chat was focussed on fusing AI and Google smarts with normal communication and also it was about building a chat app which was based on your number than your Google account. Now, after a longer than anticipated pause the app is out in the open on the Google Play store and iOS for the iPhone.
The biggest feature of this new app is that it is integrated with the Google Assistant which was also announced back at Google I/O. The Google Assistant is the next generation of Google Now which has been the predictive assistant based on the company’s products on Android phones and iOS. This new Assistant is now a hybrid between a conversational assistant and a chat bot as it resides inside the Allo app.
On Allo users can have group chats, have custom stickers and even summon the assistant from within a chat helping find thing related to the conversation at hand. Google’s AI also is working its magic out here as the app can predict replies based on more than text. It can even find location, images, GIFs, save information, phone commands and what not. It is all very sophisticated.
Allo users can also scribble texts just like users of iOS 10 iMessage users can. Of course, there’s no support for digital touch as that’s an Apple iPhone related feature. At launch, there are more than 25 new sticker packs and Google has even customised them for India in some cases by tying up with some artists.
There’s also a new messaging paradigm called whisper shout, which allows to the you to control the intensity of the chat. After typing the text you can press and hold the send button for a slider to pop open which can be slid up for a really big text or vice versa.
As the assistant is baked into the app, you can also strike conversational queries with it. For instance, you can ask it when is my next flight and it will pull up the date and time and will also have smart replies as like directions to the airport, remind to check in on the basis of what it can predict.
Google claims that Allo is also big on privacy. By default chats over Allo aren’t fully encrypted, but Google is offering an incognito mode which it borrows from the Chrome browser to provide for an fully encrypted experience. Probably Google isn’t fully encrypting data as it needs to read your data for the Assistant to be more effective. I have been using a preview version of the Allo app for Android for the last few days and we will soon have a review of the same.