Google launches AI-integrated chat app Allo

NEW DELHI (TIP): Internet search giant Google on Sept 21 (Wednesday) launched a new instant messaging (WhatsApp-like) platform named Allo that comes with Google Assistant integrated which can simplify small tasks for users and provide convenience while chatting or sharing files with a contact.

Allo’s launch comes close at heels after Google launched its slow-networks adaptable video chat application named Duo. The Mountain View-headquartered company had showcased both the apps at the annual Google I/O conference this year.

Here’s everything you need to know about it, including how it works and why you may use it:

What is Google Allo?

Google describes Allo as a messaging up for Android and iPhone users. But it does a lot more than just allow you to send messages to other people. It’s a smart messaging app in that it has the power of Google built-in and can apparently learn over time. Although the interface is similar to any chat application, the integration of the artificial intelligence takes Allo’s productivity and ease of use to a new level.

How does Google Allo work?

Similar to WhatsApp, Allo is based on your phone number, so you can use it to send text messages to anyone in your phonebook – not just other Allo users. Apart from that, Google at the I/O had highlighted three aspects of Allo that make it unique: Expression, Google Assistant, and Security.

Expressions or using Allo

During a demo at Google I/O, Google showed how you can use Allo to keep in touch with people. It looked like any other messaging app; chats appeared as bubbles, with one person’s chat bubbles appearing on one side in a certain colour, and another person’s chat bubbles appearing on the opposite side, and you could scroll up and down to see the entire threaded conversation.

Like Facebook Messenger – you could send stickers, which Google said were sourced from artists around the world. You could also send emoji. But one of the hottest features is something called Whisper or shout. This will let you slide up or down on the send button to change the size of your reply, meaning there’s no need to write in caps all the time when you’re angry.

Continuing with this theme of giving you more ways to express yourself, Allo offers a feature called Ink that lets you get creative with photos. You can doodle on them, for instance. Allo also took the Smart Reply feature from Google’s Inbox app, so now you can quickly respond while on the go. If someone asks if you want to grab dinner, Allo might serve up responses like “I’m in” or “I’m busy”.

Allo also uses machine-learning and natural language processing in order to suggest replies on the fly, meaning it can anticipate what you want to say next and how you might say it. The more you use Allo, the better your suggestions become. And they will always be unique to you. However, because messaging isn’t just about texts, replies also contain stickers and emoji.

You’ll even see smart reply options when someone send you a photo. Allo can understand the content and context of photos, thanks to Google’s computer vision capabilities. If someone sends you a photo of pasta, you will see smart replies that include mentions of pasta, yummy, or whatever. The idea here is that assistive technology can help you communicate with little to no effort.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is Google’s latest iteration of a virtual assistant. It’s considered an upgrade or an extension of Google Now. During the main keynote at Google I/O 2016, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, demoed Google Assistant and said he wanted people to experience “an ongoing two-way dialog” with the virtual assistant. Keep in mind this virtual assistant trend kicked off in 2011, when Apple introduced Siri.

For instance, let’s say you are chatting with a friend who wants to eat French food for dinner. Google Assistant will then proactively suggest French restaurants nearby at the bottom of the app’s messaging window.

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