Google has finally launched Allo, its AI-centric messaging app for iOS and Android that offers an early peek at some of its most robust artificial intelligence capabilities yet.
First previewed at the Internet giant’s annual developers’ conference in May, the app combines the best of Google’s predictive and search superpowers along with an all-new personal assistant feature.
“Today, we’re releasing Google Allo, a new smart messaging app for Android and iOS that helps you say more and do more right in your chats,” an official blog post read.
Allo’s AI-powered features uses machine learning to suggest appropriate responses to both text and graphic messages, cutting down on your typing. Allo virtual assistants “understand your world” in ways that allow people to ask questions or give directives the same way one might speak with an aide, according to Google engineering director Erik Kay. So if someone asks if you’re up to party on a Friday night, it’ll let you reply, “I’m in,” just by tapping the prompt.
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“It learns, over time, to make conversations easier, more expressive and more productive,” Kay said. Features built into Allo include “Whisper and Shout” that enables users to make message content larger or smaller with a swipe.
Allo will also support Google Assistant that acts as a friendly Google search bot. The difference is that it can pepper messages with things like search results for restaurants when you’re talking about getting dinner.
Allo’s Smart Replies.
Allo suggests smart responses to its users PHOTO: GOOGLE
The app lets you sign up with your phone number and after identity verification, the app scans your address book to find people you may know who are also using the app. In addition to being a standard messaging service, Allo also allows you to record a voice message, send a photo with a doodle (for Android only right now), or share a map of your current location. The app also includes a number of themed sticker packs that you can use to liven up your chats.
Google has combined Allo’s smart text features with its photo recognition abilities, so the app can also suggest responses to photos that are being shared with you. Like Snapchat, Allo allows users to draw on photos before sending them to friends.
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It’s all about the Assistant
Google Assistant has much more to offer than a simple messaging bot. There are two ways to interact with Google Assistant. You can either interact with it directly — Assistant appears alongside other conversations in the app — or you could refer to it while you’re chatting in another conversation by writing @Google in the chat box.
In either case, it helps with many things that you would have used Google search for such as flight statuses, translations along with photo recognition. If you upload a photo of Egyptian pyramids, Google Assistant will ask you if you want to learn more about Egyptian history. Google Assistant is much closer to Facebook’s vision for M, the social network’s own AI-based assistant.
The feature is even more useful when you get it one-on-one. There, in addition to everything else, you can ask the assistant about your calendar, set reminders and get the latest headlines. With an Android device, you can also set alarms, timers, search your photos and make phone calls via Google Assistant.
Google Assistant is baked right in
Allo works as a search guide aswell PHOTO: GOOGLE
The “creepy” factor
Google’s biggest hurdle with Allo may be convincing people that AI isn’t compromising on their privacy. Tech enthusiasts may find it cool that Google can recognise their shared photos and predicting what messages they wish to write, others may find it as an invasion of privacy. To address these concerns, Messages sent within Allo are encrypted by default, but don’t use end-to-end encryption, a standard favoured by members of the security community and privacy advocates.
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However, you can opt for an incognito chat, which does include end-to-end encryption. These conversations can also include self-destructing messages and the ability to block new messages from appearing on your phone’s lock screen.
Allo allows users to interact in an incognito chat PHOTO: GOOGLE
Whether or not these features will be enough to persuade skeptics is another matter. But if Google can make its assistant feel like a necessary sidekick rather than a creepy stalker, it might win people over. Given that rivals like WhatsApp and Messenger have already amassed massive user bases; it remains to be seen whether Allo stands a chance at becoming a popular messaging tool.
Courtesy : Express Tribune