Hello Allo, Google’s Instant Messaging App

Allo set to wrestle market share from WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger

Hello Allo smartphone image by Macrovector
Image by Macrovector (via Shutterstock).

Allo, Google’s answer to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger could be the search engine’s elusive instant messaging app. It aims to steal a march on the existing market leaders with more intelligent functions. As a fully-fledged member of the Google family, brand recognition and association would be a selling point.

More than a messaging app

Whereas WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Blackberry Messenger [BBM] is based upon text-based conversation, Allo enables you to ask questions. Any responses are derived from the same algorithms as those used by Google Photos. Instead of trying to rack your brains over who scored Leicester City’s goal* in the 1963 F.A. Cup Final, you could ask Allo for an answer. Within moments, it’ll return the answer. This occurs if you let Google get a word in edgeways.

If you’re looking for an appropriate image to illustrate your point, or show off any family pictures, the Smart Reply function will suggest suitable pictures. Then it will suggest a number of possible expressions. A picture of your mother’s English Springer Spaniel puppy could be annotated with either an emoji or a suggested phrase like “So cute!” or “Aaaawww!” As with Google’s other voice-activated apps, Allo enables you to message by voice control.

Privacy at both ends

Like BBM and WhatsApp, privacy is key to the user experience of Allo. If you are talking about confidential stuff with your partner, you will be able to activate its own incognito mode. Whilst in conversation, your message will be encrypted at your end, with the recipient’s reply similarly encrypted on reaching your device.

Breaking Facebook’s stranglehold

The world’s most popular instant messaging apps are both owned by Facebook. Over one billion people use WhatsApp. Slightly less than a billion people use Facebook’s Messenger service. Both are available as standalone apps for mobile devices, and desktop and laptop PCs. Google aims to challenge Facebook’s dominance.

Google have dabbled with instant messaging before through Google Talk. This was integrated with the now defunct Orkut. With Android mobile devices more popular than iOS devices, the chances of success are greater. In 2008, some of us didn’t think Google Chrome would have beaten Internet Explorer. Allo could be another winning move from Google. As soon as Net66 grab their mitts on the search engine’s new messaging system, expect to see a review, tutorial, or something similar.

Allo will be released this Summer for Android and iOS powered devices.  In the meantime, enjoy this clip.

Net66, 24 May 2016.

* Answer: Kenneth Keyworth: 173 appearances and 63 goals for the Filberts. Oh, and we didn’t ask Google.