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Google has been repeating failures over and over again when it comes to social networking. Orkut faded into oblivion and was eventually shut down and Google+ couldn’t make the impact they expected of it. Instant messaging is currently dominated by Facebook owned WhatsApp and has been doing it perfectly fine for us.
Google, on Wednesday launched an instant messaging app that has a lot in common with WhatsApp, but significantly smarter than WhatsApp. The messenger app called Google Allo, takes texting to a whole different level with its feature rich nature. Here is why we think this could be the next big thing in instant messaging and a potential nemesis to WhatsApp, at least from judging by the rich features it has got.
What’s Google Allo?
Google Allo is very different from Google Hangouts which is more popular with the corporate audience. It has more in common with WhatsApp. The user interface is much more polished than WhatsApp, but the purpose seems to be exactly the same. But we already have WhatsApp, right? Not really, the selling point of Google Allo lies in its smarter features powered by artificial intelligence. It can suggest responses to texts that your friends send you, smartly. For example, when someone sends you “How are you?” it suggests you a few standard responses people have been responding this question with that you can just tap to reply instantly. The responses for “How are you?” would be “I’m good”, “Good”, “I’m fine” and the like. The smart suggestions it can provide as responses go beyond generic ones such as this.
Allo keeps learning from the way you text to give you personalised suggestions. It can even recognize objects in the picture someone sends you and suggest possible responses. That’s a whole new level of instant messaging if you ask me. Let’s look at the key features of Allo that makes it stand out from the rest of the instant messaging apps.
To put it simple, Allo is the smartest of all. It is powered by an AI which apparently knows a lot about how people text. It uses this intelligence to provide users with relevant response suggestions while texting, making instant messaging faster than ever before. It doesn’t end where it suggests standard responses for common opening texts. It also has got an image recognition engine that can intelligently identify objects in an image and give response suggestions for it. What’s even better? It learns your style of texting over time and would suggest responses just the way you like it. Typing might just turn into ‘tapping’ if this does pick up.
Ink to scribble
With Allo, you don’t have to look for an image editing app in the store to scribble on a picture that you’re about to send to your friend. It has an in-built image editor that lets you doodle on images or add text to them. This could make image sharing much more personal, which is a welcome change.
Express better with SHOUT or whisper
Remember how you’ve used ALL CAPS when you wanted to stress on a point? Well, Allo takes it a step further. It lets you increase or decrease the size of your text with a quick swipe. This can make texting a lot more expressive than it ever used to be. Your friend can be sure about how agitated you are from the size of your texts. This again sounds like a great addition for a richer texting experience.
One of the game changing features of Allo is the added integration of Google assistant. The convenience of asking questions to Google assistant can now be enjoyed from within the chat box of Allo. This means, you no longer have to leave a conversation with your friend or group to find a web address, a YouTube video or a restaurant to dine at. All you have to do is type @google to bring Assistant into any chat. You can also have a one on one chat with Assistant in Allo.
Whatsapp had recently started sharing its data with Facebook for targeted advertising. While users have the option to decide whether their data will be used for advertising, this change has made many people question the privacy aspect of Whatsapp. Allo, on the other hand comes with some really great privacy features built in like the incognito mode.
You can have improved privacy like end-to-end encryption for selected contacts and the ability to set chat expiry period after which the messages get erased automatically. With privacy being a growing concern for many, these options are great to have.
Can it beat WhatsApp?
The cool new features that Google Allo comes with are definitely new to the instant messaging arena. With the smart Artificial Intelligence engine that powers it, it does have the potential to change the way we communicate. The smart responses feature is not something I personally like given how it could make texting less personal and even robotic. After many failed attempts at social networking sites, could this be Google’s chance of making it big in connecting people over instant messaging? Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments.