Google Allo and Duo

Revolutionizing Communication, or is it the other way?

Google has announced two new ‘smart’ communication apps — Allo and Duo, which will supposedly help you better express yourself. Announced at the Google I/O 2016 along with other revolutionizing products like Google Home, Android N, Firebase, Instant apps, Daydream, and many others, these two are set to revolutionize the way you communicate. Both are interlinked to each other, and also complement each other. Let’s have a look at both-

Allo

Allo is the new text based messenger which is mostly going to compete with Whatsapp, Facebook’s Messenger, LINE, Telegram and may even take on Google’s own Hangouts(which is, however, less likely to happen). Its basic layout is similar to Facebook’s Messenger. What separates this from the crowd is also what makes Google unique, it’s Artificial Intelligence and huge search engine capabilities. The basic premise on which Allo is built is that there need to be better ways to express oneself, than using just stickers and ‘emojis’. It’s supposed to offer all of google, in a messaging platform.

During the Announcement at I/O 2016

What sets it apart?

  1. Whisper Shout — Just the way you whisper and shout, or modulate your voice, to get yourself across better, this feature lets you send text, which displays itself small or big, thus, dramatically improving upon expression.
Allo’s innovative Whisper Shout

2. Query on Google, right from your chat window — So your friend asked you to go for a show tonight, and you have to check for shows playing? Now, no need to leave your chat window, go to Google, search for a show, check its reviews, book tickets and get back — instead, do all that directly from your chat window with the help of Google Assistant.

3. Google’s smart reply suggestions — Now, Google analyzes your messages and suggests a reply, based on the way you talk. It also analyzes the receiver’s messages, to present you with useful data(as shown below) and it also keeps learning your language, so it gets better at suggesting, with time.

It uses AI and Machine learning techniques to suggest the reply.

It can even learn and process images exchanged and use it for providing suggestions. For example, if a user receives an image of a cute puppy, the reply suggestions include "CUTE!!!", and other similar words, again, based on your language.

Query and get Smart Suggestion from Google, right in Allo
Suggestions by Google. based on your language patterns…

4. Edit images and pictures in app - Allo let's you send drawings, illustrations, images, etc. You can edit, or draw over it right from your chat window. This should be similar to, but improvement to the Facebook Messenger.

The image editing feature in Allo

5. Incognito Mode — Remember the incognito mode in Chrome? Just like Chrome, this feature lets you talk in private, without any interference or snooping by Google(at least they claim so), and once you close the chat window, it’s gone, forever, without leaving a trace. Also, every single message is encrypted end-to-end. Rejoice!!

6. Google Assistant — What’s a google product, without its ‘smartness’? Apart from integration with the chat window, you can even chat with the Google assistant separately. If we go by the demo, it’s really natural, and cool. You can talk to it, query it, and even play games with it(small ones right now, though).

Duo

Duo is the video calling companion to Allo, and it’s built keeping in mind that many a times, receiving a video call can be intriguing, disturbing or even irritating. It is supposed to offer an easier and more friendly way to video calling.

What’s about it

  1. Knock Knock!! — This very innovative feature lets you see a live preview of the caller even before you accept the call, thus letting you know the actual context and intentions of the caller. No more being taken by surprise!!
You can see a live preview of the caller… Even before accepting the call

2. Change networks seamlessly, under the hood — Travelling? No problem, Duo ensures that it can change through networks, cellular and WiFi, seamlessly, without disturbing your conversation!!

When can you expect to use it

If we go by the announcements, the two will be available by ‘this summer’. It’s open for registration in the Play Store in Allo’s and Duo’s app pages, which will notify you when it is released.

What does all this mean

As mentioned earlier, this is another move by Google to integrate the end user completely into its ecosystem and also revolutionise another sphere in our lives, communication. If implemented properly, it is bound to succeed, however, it will be extremely hard to compete with Whatsapp and likes, especially, in emerging markets like India, where these services enjoy the ‘early bird’ advantage. Many welcome such new advancements, but others are sure to raise privacy issues(which, Google has addressed by incorporating Incognito mode). What do YOU think about their impacts, let us know below…