Hands on with Google Allo

Review

...and Google Assistant, here to settle all those trivia arguments...
by
Hands on with Google Allo

Is there room in your smartphone for another messaging app?

Google Allo is a new messaging app for both Android and iOS, going up against the likes of Apple’s Messages, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. But is there really a demand for yet another messaging app? And what does Allo do differently?

Google Assistant

The thing that sets Allo apart from the others is Google Assistant. Unlike Google Now, GA is conversational – to a certain extent. It’s baked right into the chat app, and can be summoned anytime you have a query by typing “@Google...”

At first, it felt a bit weird having Google looming on the fringe of private conversations, ready to pounce whenever requested. But it’s handy if there’s something that needs answering and you can’t be bothered to look it up yourself. It’s like having a know-it-all friend in every conversation - but one who’s quite happy to keep quiet until asked their opinion.

If none of your friends have the app, or perhaps you’re just a bit lonely, you can chat directly to Google Assistant. You can play games, ask about the weather, find stuff to do nearby, requests jokes… all the usual virtual assistant stuff, but backed up by the seemingly endless catalogue of Google knowledge and occasional witticism (below).

Smart Reply

Another feature that comes in quite handy is Smart Reply. It suggests responses based on what you’ve been sent and can be a handy time-saver if you’re in a rush.

For example, if you were asked “Are you doing anything next week?” the automated replies might include “Yes, why?”, “Maybe”, or “Not sure, why?”. It’s great that they’re quite conversational responses, but also kind of weird...

What if you’re having a serious conversation with someone, and all the replies you’re receiving are the cold, empty words of a computer…

Have you downloaded Google Allo yet? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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