When we thought we had enough communications apps, Google unveils Allo and Duo. They are two separate apps: Allo is a smart messaging app that brings machine learning into the mix, and Duo is a simple video calling app with some unique features.
The company announced the two new apps during its I/O 2016 developer conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.
Google’s Allo messaging app
Allo is a new messaging app that aims to make conversation more interactive and fun. The app doesn’t require sign in with a Google account as it works with your phone number — Yes, just like Viber.
The Google messaging app also has a deep integration with machine learning, allowing the app to learn as you use it to help you have a faster and more engaging conversation.
Allo includes Smart Reply, which is a feature that will allow you to reply to a message with text suggestions based on the conversation you’re having. Also, the more you use the app the smarter it will get to suggest the best reply that you likely want to use.
Applying machine learning, you will even get reply suggestions when someone sends you a photo. For example, if you get a photo of a dog, you might get a reply suggestion reading “cute dog”.
Similar to Microsoft’s Bots that you will find on upcoming versions of Skype using Cortana, Allo features Google’s version of Bots, which the company simply refers to “Google assistant”.
Google assistant will be able to jump into your conversation suggesting useful information, and you can even do a one-on-one chat to get information, map directions, translations, make a restaurant reservation, cancel flights, or change your calendar.
And you don’t have to be specific either, you can ask things like “is my flight delayed?” and Google assistant will understand the context and give you the right answer.
Finally, Allo will also include an Incognito mode to chat privately with an end-to-end encryption and discreet notifications.
Google’s Duo video calling app
Duo could be perhaps the next best video calling app you will use. You can only do one-on-one video calling, and it works on fast and slow connections.
Like Allo, Duo uses your phone number to make the connection, which means that you don’t have to sign in with a Google account.
One of the best features of Duo is Knock Knock, which shows you a preview video of the person who is calling before you decide to pick up. Once you swipe to answer the call, you’ll seamlessly transition to the call.
Duo feature high-quality video calling up to 720p and audio. The app uses adaptive bandwidth, which means that it will adapt and work in virtually any network. In other words, you will at least be able to connect.
Google has built Duo to be smart and seamlessly transmission between Wi-Fi and cellular networks without dropping the call. The Duo app also features end-to-end encryption for each communication.
Google said that these apps won’t be replacing the Hangouts app, they are just additional apps. Both Allo and Duo are still on development, the company plans to release them later this summer on Android and iOS (sorry, no Duo for Windows phones, but I think you’re expecting that). However, you can register to get early access to both — follow link 1 and link 2.