Google Allo: It’s here and it’s interesting

Earlier this year, we reported that Google would be launching the Allo and the Duo services. Duo was a speedy one-on-one video chat app based on the user’s phone number and allows them to communicate with anyone in their phonebook who has the app. As tested, it’s quite fast since it is based on Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) and video quality was superb.

The other major announcement was the Allo, a smart messaging app which was launched yesterday. This app also relies on your phone number, and is currently mobile-only. We’re hoping to see web and desktop versions soon.

What Allo does best is its integration of the Google Assistant in chat. So far, this intelligent AI has helped answer all sorts of questions, made a dinner plan, shared some content and told us some really funny jokes. All you have to do is type “@google” in any conversation to summon it and take it from there.

Making the dinner plan was a breeze. The AI asks a few questions about likes and dislikes, and how far you’d be willing to travel to get dinner, and boom, it lists a bunch of suitable options that you can pick from and be directed to or order in from.

The responses it provides are intelligent and very human like. Asking the assistant about the weather will get you the weather, but it will also advise you on whether to get that sunscreen on or to put on a jacket as an added measure.

The app knows how to have its fair share of fun as well. Ask it to tell you something funny, and it sends you joke after joke, and some of them are quite funny. You can ask it inane questions like what it’s wearing and if it’s alive and it responds with witty answers with a couple of emojis thrown in. Users can even pass time by engaging in riddles with the assistant.

There are countless tasks you can accomplish with the Assistant in Allo but it also allows users to auto-reply which is amazing. The AI recognizes the kind of chat that is going on and, more often than not, offers suitable responses and emojis to reply with.

So far, Allo has been designed to be a standalone messaging service, and isn’t meant to replace Hangouts. But we can assume some sort of merge later in the future when the web and desktop apps come out.