Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger now have more competition. Google parent company Alphabet has just launched Allo after unveiling it in May. This also comes at the same time that Google is rolling out the Duo video-calling app, which competes with Skype and FaceTime.
Allo’s launch has already led to a warning from Edward Snowden. He’s against using it because it could allow Google to read everything you write.
You may still have a few more days to decide as Allo will be publicly available as soon as the end of this week. The details include being a messaging app melding Google’s search feature with a chatbot, which apparently learns on the job, improving itself over time.
Allo’s chatbot is powered by Google Assistant, a virtual personal assistant similar to Apple’s Siri. Start calling up the Allo assistant in a chat by typing “@google” and then what you’re searching for. The results will appear in the chat itself.
Allo includes what’s called “Smart Reply,” which adds suggested responses in chats, easily sent along in just one tap. For example, if your friend sends you a photo of their baby, the Smart Reply will give a suggestion to respond with “So cute!” along with stickers or even the ability to scribble on the photo.
With an end-to-end encryption only while chatting in “Incognito” mode, Allo will have some similarities to WhatsApp chats, which also has that feature.
As for saying goodbye to privacy, you’ll have to weigh the options.