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September 21st, 2016 by


WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet, with Facebook Messenger and Apple’s iMessage also owning vast chunks of the market.

Google has decided that it needs to get in on the instant messaging action and, today, has begun rolling out its new messaging app, Allo to the South African market. Announced at the Google I/O Developer conference in May, Allo is a smart messaging app that works off your phone number and is available for Android and iOS mobile devices.

So, What Exactly Is ‘Allo’?

Allo is not like other messaging apps, that just let you chat to friends, family and colleagues, it’s much smarter. What makes it smart (amongst other things) is that it features a preview version of Google Assistant, which you can chat to one-on-one or in group conversations, by typing @google. This means when you’re trying to decide where to go for dinner with your bestie, for example, you can @google right in the chat and it’ll help you research and book a dinner spot.

Browsing While Messaging

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Google Assistant can also help with news, weather or incoming flight status information. It can help you find nearby places, from pharmacies to petrol stations, or even assist in planning your next weekend away – from destinations to flights and accommodation. All this can be found inside Allo, so you don’t need to hop from your chat to your browser to search for things while the conversation is underway. The more you use Google Assistant, the more useful it becomes by remembering your preferences and information you ask it to.

The Incredible Smart Reply

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Allo also features Smart Reply, which lets you respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply suggests responses based on your conversation. Just click the one you want, without having to type a thing. Whether you’re a ‘LOL’ or ‘hahaha’ kind of person, Smart Reply will improve over time and adjust to your conversation style. Smart Reply will also suggest responses to photos sent in Allo. So, if your friends send a picture of their dog, cat, or cute kid, you might see suggestions like “aww, cute!” or “nice dog!”.

Emoji Alert

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Chat just wouldn’t be chat if it was text only. In Allo, you can make text or emojis bigger or smaller by dragging the ‘send’ button up or down. Scribble on photos before you send them and add custom stickers from independent artists and studios around the globe that Google has partnered with to create custom sticker packs. Because sometimes what you really, really need is a ‘sloth riding a pizza’ sticker.

Encrypted Secure Messaging

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Google has also taken security into account. All chats are encrypted so your information is secure. It also offers an incognito mode (as found in Chrome), which provides end-to-end encryption, discreet notifications and message expiration.

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Allo is available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.