Google launches ‘Allo’ messaging app with Google Assistant

Facebook, are you ready for the competition? Technology giant Google has launched Allo, its new intelligent messaging app for the Android and iOS platform, which is expected to give tough competition to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The new app combines the best of Google’s predictive and search superpowers along with an all-new personal assistant feature. Google had announced Duo and Allo at its I/O developer conference in May this year.

Allo has now-standard messaging features like stickers, changing font sizes, emojis, smart reply and marked-up photos. Google has customized Allo for Indian users by enabling smart replies in ‘Hinglish.’ It is also rolling out over 200 stickers relevant to Indian users that have been created by popular independent artists. “Sometimes a “Badhai Ho” or “Party to banti hai” say a lot more,” said the company in a statement.

Amit Fulay, Group Product Manager, Google said on the launch, “Whether it’s planning a night out or just catching up, we rely on messaging to stay in touch with friends and family every day. But too often we have to hit pause on our conversation — whether it’s to check the status of a flight or look up that new restaurant. So we created Allo, a messaging app that helps you keep your conversation going, by providing assistance when you need it.”

The “Smart Reply” feature in the app suggests responses to chats and can be send with just a tap.

“If your friend sends you a photo of their pet, you might see Smart Reply suggestions like ‘aww cute!’,” Fulay wrote.

Before sending the photos, the users can also use stickers and scribble on them.

Allo will also mark the debut of Google Assistant, an intelligent chat AI that brings Google’s services to your conversations in a preview edition.

“Now users no longer need to leave a conversation with friends just to grab an address, or share a YouTube video, or pick a dinner spot. Chat with your Assistant one-on-one in Google Allo to answer questions, or type @google to bring the Assistant into your chats with friends, whenever you need it,” said the statement.

Currently, both Smart Reply and Google Assistant are in English-only, with “more languages coming soon.”

All chats in Google Allo are encrypted using industry standard technologies like Transport Layer Security (TLS), it said. Users can also chat in Incognito mode, which would have end-to-end encryption and have additional privacy features like discreet notifications and message expiration.

You can download Allo from Google Play and Apple’s App Store, though you may have to wait a bit, as this is a gradual rollout. However, “the app will be live worldwide in the next few days,” the company says.