Allo, the new messaging app from Google, is currently making its way to Android and I must admit that I was intrigued to discover it. After a long wait, since Google I/O in May to be exact when it was first announced, Allo has finally arrived. At this point, many seem to like it very much and even if I am some sort of a WhatsApp fan, the truth is that I like it too. I discovered step by step what this new app has to offer and I took you too in my journey with the help of all these guides, but there is something else that I have to be honest about.
Allo doesn’t come pre-installed on Android devices, and it doesn’t take over the regular Messages app as it happens with iMessage on iOS and yet, I have to admit that I am a bit confused. At this point, it is still unclear whether this might be part of Google’s plan to boost Allo adoption in the future, so I have decided to share with you some of my main concerns regarding this app. And as you can see, they are quite a few and the list could get even longer in the days to come:
- As a Google product, you would expect Allo to work very well with Google’s ecosystem, but that isn’t how things work. Allo is compatible with Android phones only, but not with Android tablets or Android Wear. And it doesn’t work on Android Auto either, so let’s hope that Google won’t leave things like that for too long if it is serious about this app;
- Google included an almost totally useless SMS feature that allows you to send SMS from it, even if it isn’t an SMS client, so I was totally confused at first. And the recipients are confused too since the app sends the message from a random unknown 5-digit number, so things could complicate. In theory, messaging friends with Allo is quite easy, even if they aren’t using the app yet. The only requirement is that you have their phone number. To chat with your friends, simply find them in the list within Allo. You’ll be shown a message within the chat thread, notifying you if they have Allo installed or not. When you send a message to those who don’t have Allo yet, your message will be delivered to them via SMS and that’s how an easy thing gets complicated for nothing;
- Your Google account is only there to make Assistant suggestions for you. Yes, I was surprised to see that it cannot be used for any regular backups that you might need, for any synced chats, or anything similar;
- When you receive a message, Allo will often pop up some magical bubbles with suggested replies. However, I don’t know how to tell you, but the magic doesn’t work all the time. Sometimes they’re straightforward, like when you get a “Are you coming?” text, then the suggestion is “On my way.” I have nothing to complain about that! Sometimes they’re weird and have nothing to do with the actual conversation, so they simply annoy you, or you simply get a “Yeah” when the assistant doesn’t have any other better line;
- I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad one, but the assistant has this tendency to be proactive even if you are not expecting it to be. For example, me and my friend were talking about Italian food and Google pop out from nowhere to offer some recommendations. Do you like to have an intruder in your conversation? I just feel that my assistant crosses the line with that and my privacy disappears just when I was assured of the fact that Allo is about keeping it!
And even if the app does sound really promising, the truth is that Google still needs to convince more than a billion users to switch. I am sure that Allo has the necessary potential to challenge WhatsApp but, will it actually win this battle?
Well, I am eager to find out your thoughts on the service, now that you’ve been using it for a few long days. Will you drop your current messaging app that you use for such a long time and get all of your friends and family to use Allo too?