Puzzle Review: Google Allo
Last week saw the release of Google’s latest release in the digital world, Google Allo. A messaging app that entails more than your sub-standard messaging features, and (we think) will have a greater impact than Google’s previous foray in the messaging realm.
The app is available on both iOS and Android and is linked via mobile phone numbers. Sadly, Google Allo is not on available on the web, which limits its competitive edge against probably its main competitor WhatsApp as well as the others, but Google Allo users could eventually transfer themselves to desktop usage as Google have explained that they will look to release the application across multiple platforms in due course.
It seems the downfall of the messaging app is primarily that you cannot use the app on your desktop computer, which subsequently limits the functionalities of attraction to the latest Google release. Compare Google Allo with other messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Slack, they all have a desktop version which allows for much greater usage.
Google Allo, of course, has a pretty steep task in rocking the boat that contains the likes of iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Line, WhatsApp as well as the plentiful more. Some of the aforementioned apps house millions of users so coming anywhere close will take time, but Google has implemented a tactic that will allow users to be invited to converse with Google Allo users, without the annoyance of demanding comments from messaging apps pushing non-users to download the app.
On iPhone, non-users will receive an SMS from Google Allo users with their name, the contents of the message, and a link to download the application from which they can download or, alternatively, simply reply via SMS. The SMS relay allows the option for users to download or continue without the app, without the hindering the conversation. If they’re on Android, Google have implemented the ‘app preview notification” which sends the user a notification to their screen. Similar to the notifications on iOS, non-users on Android can easily reply within the notification, without downloading or simply press a button to download.
The piéce de résistance of this app is the inclusion of the AI with Google Assistant. You can talk directly to the Google Assistant, where you can ask a range of questions which can be answered by the bot, or are found via the internet, or (and this is the good bit) you can tag the Google Assistant in an ongoing message, simply by entering ‘@google’ followed by the question. Web results are found almost instantaneously and allows users to search the web whilst within the app.
As well as the Google Assistant, Google Allo has also implemented a range of emojis, stickies created by artists, and the ability to draw on photos within the app. Not only that, but the AI also gives users suggested responses, based on their conversational style.
As messaging apps have quickly evolved to house much more than the basic premise to send text-based messages to others. Google Allo houses all of the features the modern messaging app and has taken on the AI feature that, no doubt, many other messaging apps will look to incorporate as the ability to search the web and gather information without leaving the app becomes the norm.
Overall, the consensus of this app is positive; the quality of the layout is good, and it’s simple to navigate. Compared to Google Plus, Google Allo has the ability to become a highly used messaging app. The AI is, without a doubt, the selling point to this app, but though this may be the case, I find it difficult to comprehend that the billions of users, that have been using other messaging apps for such a prolonged amount of time, will suddenly switch to Google Allo. I guess it’s easy to say that the main issue is the competition, and with the competition delivering very similar products, it will be difficult for the new kid on the block to oust them straight away. The non-desktop accessibility limits Google Allo’s opportunities, but if we’re right in thinking that, in due course, Google Allo will make it to desktop and subsequently enable the usage of other Google application, such as Gmail and Google Drive, then we could see Google Allo stealing the show from other messaging apps.