Google just launched a new smart messaging app called “Allo” at its developers conference.
The app looks a lot like Facebook Messenger, with stickers and the ability to easily send photos, and, like Messenger, Allo can also be used with your phone number.
You can also link it to an existing Google account, though you don’t have to.
Allo also “learns over time,” and can suggest smart replies through its machine learning, natural language processing, and image recognition abilities.
For example, if your friend sends you a picture of a dog, Allo could suggest the response “cute dog!” And it will learn if you’re more of an “lol” person or a “haha” person, when your friend says something funny.
“Allo makes it easier to be more expressive and more productive,” Google engineer Erik Kay said on stage.
Allo also works with Assistant, the new conversational smart assistant that Google announced earlier.
Users can simple message “@google” to chat with the smartbot in an existing conversation with a friend or just send a message to yourself to talk to it alone. For example, if you wanted to pick a place to go out to eat with a friend, you could ask Google Assistant to suggest local places.
All of Allo’s chats will be encrypted, but in an “incognito mode” similar to what it offers on Chrome, messages will be end-to-end encrypted, meaning that Google won’t be able to read them at all.
Google now has three seperate messaging apps: Allo, Hangouts, and the newly launched Spaces. The key differentiator with Allo, though, is the smart assistant integration.
Allo will launch on Android and iOS this summer.