Innovation

Google’s New Allo Messenger App Has Marketers Excited

Google has rolled out Allo, a messaging app, which the company said on its blog is smarter than the ones in the market, and already marketers are drooling.

According to Google, one of the problems with current messaging apps is that users often have to hit pause on their conversation to look up a new restaurant or check the status of a flight. Aiming to eliminate that hassle, the new messaging app provides assistance within the app to enable people to keep their conversation going. “Google Allo can help you make plans, find information and express yourself more easily in chat. And the more you use it, the more it improves over time,” Google said in the blog post.

Some of the new features being rolled out with Allo include Smart Reply, which lets users respond to messages with a single tap so they can send quick responses. Smart Reply will also suggest responses for photos. So, if a friend sends a photo of their pet, Smart Reply may suggest “aww cute!” as a reply. Smart Reply responses improve over time as it adjusts to the user’s style. Because chatting has become much more than just a text, Google also incorporated what its calls a “rich canvas” for users to express themselves in Google Allo. “You can make emojis and text larger or smaller in size by simply dragging the ‘send’ button up or down. Make photos your own by scribbling on them before you send,” said Google. “And we’ve worked with independent artists and studios around the world to create more than 25 custom sticker packs, because sometimes a ‘sloth riding a pizza’ says it all.”

Google Allo users will also be introduced to a preview edition of the Google Assistant, which enables users to have a conversation with Google, ask it questions and get things accomplished directly in the chat app. While the app is geared toward consumers, marketers, of course, are drooling. According to a report by Adweek, Rachel Pasqua, head of connected life at MEC North America, said she expects Google to launch branded emojis for marketers.

“The AI feature will recommend a sponsor based on the keyword, the message and the conversational flow,” she said in the report. “It seems pretty obvious to me that it will be a paid placement opportunity — I think most likely in the form of an emoji. Say I’m in a new city and I’m searching Google for nearby coffee shops. Starbucks and Peaks Coffee could both surface an emoji for it to be a competition to see who could surface an emoji first — I would be astonished if that didn’t show up.”

The executive also speculated that Allo may be geared toward workers and positioned as a productivity tool. “Facebook has such a big slice of the talk-to-your-friends conversational market that they would have to chip away at that to be an opportunity for the other stuff,” Pasqua said in the report. “It seems logical that, if the AI experience is really that good, that people might start using it quite a bit for search.”

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