In case you didn’t catch the news way back in May, Google set out to release its mobile based messaging App called Allo that will compete with the likes of Telegram, iMessage and the much popular WhatsApp. It has the Google Assistant built in and it’s rolling out today available for both Android and iPhone. Google is clearly heading for some stiff competition and it needs something special that will lure current WhatsApp users to Allo putting into consideration it already has apps like Hangouts which already failed the popularity contest. What could Google do to give itself an advantage? What does Google have in its arsenal of capabilities?
It’s radically, almost violently unclear how Allo is going to take on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and all the rest. Many of these apps have more than a billion users, and so how will Google get Allo distributed to an equally large number of people. We don’t know yet whether it will be installed by default on Android devices since they own the ecosystem.
It should be noted that the only unique feature that stands out from Allo is the new Google Assistant, which leverages Google’s machine-learning capabilities to answer your questions. But is that enough to make users switch away from those other apps ?
How Allo Works
Just like any messaging app, Google App will allow users send text messages, pictures, emojis, videos and audio messages to their friends. Google hasn’t made it available on the web, on desktop, or on tablets. In fact, you can’t even use the same account on multiple phones. The Google Assistant will only be available in English to start, but it will be coming to more countries soon. Allow also allows creating group chats.
Just like WhatsApp, Allo identifies you by your phone number (which it verifies with a text message), which is great because it means you don’t have to gamble around with account setup. You can associate your Allo account with your main Google ID (for me, this happened automatically) or keep it separate if you’d prefer that. Allo will let you know when one of your friends in your contact list has installed the App so that you can start chatting with them. In a nutshell Allo will do what every other chat app does so there no big deal there. That job falls to the Google Assistant, and it is the reason Allo exists in the first place.
So what is Google Assistant?
Google Assistant is the big star of the show and unfortunately will not be available in all countries at launch. You can chat directly at Google Assistant, or you can ask it to join your chats by typing “@google” and asking it a question. Google is calling this a “Preview Edition” of the Assistant. If Google Search or Google Now is good at it, you can basically trust that the Google Assistant is good at it too. Apps like Messenger and Telegram already have their own version of robot like chat features and Google needs to extend this capability to developers to help it expand.
To Switch or not to Switch?
The biggest challenge that Google has is how to get people to this platform, a challenge that most growing Chat Apps have. So should you switch? And the answer is: Probably not yet since most of your friends probably don’t know about it, and the fact that some features like Google Assistant will not be available in some regions at launch. But for the early adopters out there, you can give Google Allo a try. You can download the App from the PlayStore and if you can’t see in yet, you can download the APK and sideload it to your Android phone here. Do you think, Google’s new messaging App Allo be the WhatsApp killer?
Featured Image: The Verge