Google is taking on Facebook’s Messenger in a big way with its new smart messaging app called Allo.
Allo operates based on your phone number and allows you to message anyone in your phone book. Allo is called a “smart” messaging app because is uses machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that can learn new things without being programmed. That means the programs can actually teach themselves things.
For example, Allo’s Smart Reply feature keeps track of your common responses to messages and will learn to offer suggestions based on how you frequently respond to messages.
The example that Google uses is that if a friend sends you pictures of tacos, Allo might automatically respond with “Yummy” or “I love tacos.” In the photo example below, it spots the daisy in the hand of the baby and offers you a choice of replies. Of course, that does mean that the smart messaging app is checking all of your messages and remembering everything you see and say.
The app also has an integrated Google assistant to help you look up information as needed. If you and some friends are chatting and get into a debate about what year a song came out, Google can just look that up for you without any of you having to leave the app to fact check. Or, if everyone is hungry, suggest some restaurants.
It can also translate conversations, pull up maps, and allow you to look at YouTube videos. Not to mention things like check your calendar or pull up photos to share. There’s even an Incognito mode that encrypts conversations and offers discreet notifications.
Allo will be available this summer for Android and iPhone in their respective app stores. What do you think? Do you like all of these new features? Or do you think this new app knows way too much about your business?