Was anyone else really disappointed with Google’s Allo today?
Seriously. We waited all summer for this? For those who haven’t used Allo, it’s basically WhatsApp or a bastardized version of Hangouts. Some of the features that we’re supposed to be into are:
Google Assistant. This is probably the biggest feature. You can write @google into a conversation window, followed by a query of sorts, and the assistant will answer for you. For example you might ask where you can get a beer, or what the weather will be. (Note: the beer query worked this afternoon for me, but it didn’t work for the screenshot here. No idea why.)
It’s a cool idea, even if it does give off Big Brother vibes. It will also suggest things within the context of a conversation, even if you haven’t directly asked it.
Anonymous and encrypted chats. This is cool. You can even set chats to expire after a certain amount of time.
I think that’s about it. There’s nothing else it seems to be able to do that Hangouts can’t do.
Unfortunately there are some significant limitations that make it not worth using, IMO.
Tied to phone number = no multiple devices. When you log into Allo on your first device, you’ll be asked to enter your phone number (Google Voice numbers work fine). Then they’ll text you a code, you’ll enter it, and you’ll be on your merry way. However, if you then download Allo on a second device, you will lose your conversation history and contacts and be logged out of your first device. This is a dealbreaker, plain and simple.
No website support. There’s no way to use it on your computer like you can with Hangouts, iMessage, and Whatsapp.
The background is too busy. See above screenshots.
No Google Voice integration and no integration with current Hangouts users. This means you’ll need to have and maintain both apps simultaneously until all your friends switch over.
So yeah… my excitement faded pretty quickly; I’ll stick to Hangouts for now. Give it a try and see for yourself, though. It’s available on both Android and iOS through their respective app stores.