One might’ve come across the news that Google has introduced a new smart messaging app for Android and iPhone users that is getting mixed to good responses so far. It is without any doubt that WhatsApp is the No.1 cross-platform communication app at the moment and this comes in direct competition for the Facebook-owned company.
First, let us look into the stand out features of the new application before we go back to the original question of whether it can compete or overthrow WhatsApp’s domination among users.
Installation is simple like every other communication app with a number verification to start things off. You’ll be charged for this SMS verification depending on your service provider. Once you’ve clicked your selfie (or skip) and entered your name, you’re greeted with few texts from Google Assistant.
The top most feature to look for Allo is Google Assistant. There a bit of a privacy check asking for your google search and app activity for this assistant to work better. It then lines up an array of options which virtual assistants usually work with like finding some information on the web, looking for location, games, weather, news and yes, control your mobile features including making calls, texting and so on. But is not that very effective to be honest.
This feature suggests what to reply to a particular text. Like from you receive a ‘Hello’ first up, it would suggest you ‘How are you’ or a ‘What’s up’. All you need to do is touch the reply you want to send. While this first appears to be a really work saving(!) as if people are sending more one-word replies, it might lead to a situation where the conversation is no longer genuine as it’ll still appear to be speaking to an automated assistant and not with your friend or acquaintance. But when you ask a question it completely leaves it to your reply. Like it suggests nothing when the reply is ‘What’s up’.
App features from Google Play
Introducing Google Allo, a smart messaging app that helps you say more and do more. Express yourself better with stickers, doodles, and HUGE emojis & text. Allo brings you the Google Assistant, preview edition.
Respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and suggests responses to text and photos, in your style.
Get creative with the photos you send by doodling on them or adding text.
Say it all with the perfect sticker. Stickers in Google Allo are designed by independent artists and studios from around the world.
SHOUT or whisper
No more typing in ALL CAPS to get your point across. Say it louder or quieter by changing the size of your text with a quick swipe.
Meet your personal Google Assistant
Google Allo brings you the Google Assistant, preview edition. Find restaurants nearby, share videos to watch, and get answers, right in your conversation with friends. Add @google to your group conversation or chat one-on-one with your Assistant. It’s your own personal Google, always ready to help.
Send messages with end-to-end encryption, use private notifications to help keep your chats more discreet, and control how long your messages stick around with expiring chats.
(The Google Assistant and Smart Reply are only available in English at this time)
Now then, is this really a threat to WhatsApp
As mentioned WhatsApp is the unanimous choice for communication and several other applications have failed in matching the popularity of it. The likes of Telegram, Hike and We Chat are a few to state. It appears that Allo is a mix of Hike’s Natasha with the idea of assistant that collectively gives a better chatting material for the ‘forever loners’.
On a serious note, Allo really appears to be taking all the positives of WhatsApp including the double tick on reading the text and ‘X is typing’ when you wait for a reply. The AI that suggests replies is kind of overdoing it or misreading as it has plenty of space to improve.
One also has the option to use bigger font sizes to the points/words he/she wants to stress rather opting for capital letters. The emojis are limited to a few but good collections that might soon improve to catch up with Facebook Messenger and other popular communicating platforms. It’s yet to be taken to PCs and despite being a pretty app, it doesn’t really give you enough reasons to have another messaging application.
There’s an intriguing feature to go incognito that removes that chat history on your receiver’s device as well that is the sole impressive feature. But it can only be really useful to those who cheat on their girlfriend/boyfriend, so there’s no real interest on that.
But it’s too early to declare it unfit as these are only early days and this might soon get better. However, it will take a lot more than that to challenge WhatsApp’s dominance.