The much awaited Google Allo instant messaging app is finally here. The app has made its way to the respective app stores on Android and iOS. After the failure of Google Talk and revamped Hangouts, it is Google’s latest attempt at the instant messaging market. And while Google Allo is basically an instant messaging app, its USP is the inbuilt assistant named Google Assistant which turns it into a smart instant messaging app. But is it good enough for the app to take on market leaders like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat. Let’s try to find out in this Google Allo app review.
Setting up Google Allo:
The process to set up Google Allo is pretty simple and inspired from WhatsApp. On installation and the first launch of the app, you will be asked to enter your mobile number. This number will be verified by Google and linked to your account.
Once the number gets verified, the app will go through all your contacts to see if any of them has Allo installed. For those who don’t have the app, you can always invite them. Additionally, if any of the contacts has an Android device but are not on Allo, you can still send them messages. These messages will be sent to those contacts as text messages along with an option to install the app.
Google Allo UI and Features:
Google Allo has a pretty simple and easy-to-navigate UI even for a first time instant messaging app user. The main interface of the app shows all the conversations with the hamburger menu at the top left side. This menu gives you access to following options: Profile, Blocked Contacts, and Settings.
The Settings menu lets you control different aspects of Google Allo like notifications, notification sound, media download, and ability to connect/disconnect your Google account. Do remember that connecting Google account is optional as your account is linked to the mobile number provided while setting up the app.
To start chatting, you simply need to tap on the name of the contact and then it’s the usual affair. But there are a few things that have been implemented in a better way. For example, Google shows you suggestions on the basis of ongoing conversation like the Inbox mail app. These suggestions are expected to get better as you will chat more.
There are new emoji set and cool sticker packs. You can also share location with just one tap and also doodle on photos before sending them.
Other than the standard chatting, you can opt for Incognito Mode which basically lets you have conversations that are end-to-end encrypted. You can also set expiry limit for such conversations which means the messages will get deleted after the set time just like Snapchat. The Incognito Mode conversations have a Black color chat background.
Using Google Assistant:
Now, it’s time to talk about Google Allo’s best feature Google Assistant which makes it the smartest instant messaging app ever. Google Assistant is the inbuilt virtual instant that lets you make Google search without exiting the app. You can trigger the assistant by using @google followed by the query. But once triggered, you can send your query without using the @google keyword. You can ask it almost anything like flight tickets, movies playing nearby, distance, jokes, quotes, facts, and much more. It is basically like Google Now on steroids with a combination of Siri and Cortana.
There is no doubt that Google Allo is an easy to use and smartest instant messaging app. It’s Google Assistant integration is a feature that is exciting for sure but it is also obvious that Allo is not at the point where it can make users ditch apps like WhatsApp. The app is indeed promising but considering Google’s track record with social media and instant messengers, I think we will have to wait for some time to see where it goes.