Google announced two new communication apps called Allo and Duo for Android and iOS. Allo is a Messenger/WhatsApp like messaging app whereas Duo is a video calling app similar to Apple’s FaceTime. To differentiate them from competitors, Google has introduced some features based on artificial intelligence and some other features that should make communication more fun using these apps.
Allo – yet another messaging app by Google
Allo is a ‘smart’ messaging app that works with just a mobile number, just like WhatsApp and Telegram. Users don’t need to use a Google account to sign up. The beauty (or creepiness) of the app is that Google reads each and every message you send and receive in the app and uses deep machine learning to suggest automatic replies, location suggestions and so on. It can also scan the photos you share and provide responses by recognizing them. For example, if you receive a graduation photo, it will suggest you message replies such as ‘congratulations’ or ‘you made it!’.
Allo also has a Google bot which you can talk to. The bot is kind of like Facebook M and completely automated so you can use it as an assistant to help you search, book stuff, translation and do other things that Google and Google Now can do for you.
Interestingly, in terms of security, Google has dropped the ball. They provide end-to-end encryption in Allo only in the incognito mode. In normal conversations, end-to-end encryption is not applied which is a bummer. In the era of iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram and Wire, where communication is being encrypted end-to-end, this is a letdown and gives users a big reason to not use Allo. However, it will be interesting to see if Google ‘does no evil’ and provide complete security for all messages modes. For now, Google has made one of its employees delete and change his blog post where he voiced his opinion for end-to-end encryption in Allo. Along with every message being read by Google creepiness, security is another reason for not wanting to use Allo.
Duo – FaceTime Competitor
You know how users wish that FaceTime was on non-Apple platforms too? Google’s Duo might be the answer.
Duo will provide video calling for all sorts of Internet connections, no matter where you are. It uses the WebRTC protocol and is optimized for low latency so you can expect good quality video calls with upto 720p HD resolution on fast connections. It will work using your phone number so just like Allo, a Google account is not required.
A cool and somewhat risky feature in Duo is Knock Knock. It starts broadcasting your video to the other party even before they pick up so they can see you before answering. Depending on the situation and where you are, this can be an amazing feature or a privacy issue.
Unlike Allo, Duo will ship with end-to-end encryption because Google claim that they built it with privacy and security in mind.
Both Allo and Duo will be released this summer for Android and iOS.