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Science and Tech

Google Allo

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By EMN Updated: Sep 26, 2016 11:09 pm
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By Liyo kikon

I’ve been waiting to try this app ever since they announced it at Google IO and now it is available for both Android and iOS. Google Allo is a messaging app, much like Whatsapp, so you might be wondering why would you need another messaging app when Whatsapp can do what a messaging app already does, i.e. send messages and multimedia. Well, after using it for almost a week and chatting daily, I have to say that Whatsapp does not even come close to what it can offer and so I will be comparing it directly with Whatsapp since that is obviously its biggest competitor.
Let me get the basics out of the way – Yes, it is a messaging app where you use your phone number to sign up, much like Whatsapp and it has all the usual stuff like delivery status, read status and you can send pictures and videos. But the once place where Allo shines is its feature called “Smart reply”. With smart reply, the tiny robots working in Google’s Artificial Intelligence analyse the texts you receive and try to guess your reply, they usually give you around 3 options to choose from and you can simply tap on a reply to quickly send an immediate text or you can type your own reply like a regular message. It is said that the smart reply will eventually get even smarter the longer you use the app. This feature alone is gold, since it proved to be more useful than anything I’ve ever used before on a messaging app.
The other big feature is something called whisper-shout, which gives you the ability to send expressive messages by making the texts larger or smaller simply by dragging the send button up or down. For example, if you want to shout something, you simply send a large text or if you want to whisper something, you just send a tiny text. This is actually fun when you’re expressing something and you would like your friend to know if you are shouting or quietly whispering it. Another feature which is missing from Whatsapp is the use of stickers, we’ve seen this on a couple of different apps like Hike messenger where you get custom stickers with lots of characters so this isn’t a new feature, but Allo has a huge selection of stickers available and new ones are added frequently so this will definitely keep you entertained as you chat.
When it comes to sending pictures on Whatsapp, you need to send it like an attachment since it hijacks the entire screen as you look for the image, but on Allo, all you need to do is tap on the little plus button and the gallery replaces the keyboard and it only takes up the whole screen if you scroll it up, this feels a lot more natural since you can send pictures very quickly and efficiently. But there’s more, not only can you send pictures easily, you can also doodle on your images! This can be fun and sometimes useful too, especially on cases where you have to point to a certain object on an image to explain something.
While taking pictures with this app, the camera again doesn’t cover the entire screen, but simply replaces the keyboard and you can doodle on the image later on as well. I really love how the entire user interface of this app makes you feel like you’re not depending on any third party applications to do simple things like take pictures or send media to your friends.
That’s not all that this app offers, one of the biggest features which Allo offers comes in the form of an A.I. called “Google Assistant”. Basically, this assistant is a chat version of “OK Google”, and you can have conversations with it since it is available in the form of an Allo contact and much like “OK Google”, it is really intelligent and can learn more about you as you continue to use it. You can also access Google Assistant by simply typing “@google” in your chat, which can help you find stuff while you’re chatting with your friends. For example, if you are talking about a movie and you don’t know the actor’s name, you can simply type “@google who is the actor in this movie?” and the assistant will find out the answer within your chat window and display it without you having to ever leave the app to go to a website and search for the answer. Unlike Nagaland, if you are living in some cities, you can also use this feature to book restaurants, movie tickets and a lot more. This can feel really natural since it is a part of your conversation and all your friends with whom you’re chatting will see the same results simultaneously within the chat window itself.
So, should you install Google Allo in your phone? The answer is a big YES! The amount of things you can do and the ease of use is simply too great to ignore and even though this is just at version 1 right now, it is just as fast as Whatsapp but with a lot of possibilities.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 26, 2016 11:09:47 pm