Google's Allo messaging app for iOS and Android wants to be your helpful assistant.
Easy to set up: Allo is tied to your phone number. During setup, Allo will ask to confirm your number and get approval on a few permissions.
A chatty assistant: Allo gives you access to what Google calls a Preview Edition of Google Assistant. It provides contextual help based on the contents of your chat, such as flight times or movie screening. You can add @google to a group conversation for assistance, or carry on a one-on-one conversation by selecting Google Assistant from your Contacts list. To get an idea of what the assistant can do, ask "What can you do?"
Smart replies: Over time Allo learns your messaging style so it can suggest appropriate responses to text and photos, much like the contextual smart replies in Google's Inbox.
Message history: By default, Messages are stored on Google's servers until you delete them from your own device. Messages are encrypted between your phone and Google's servers. You can search through all your messages or search within a single conversation.
Incognito mode: If, however, you don't want any messages saved, choose Incognito mode, which offers end-to-end encryption and removes messages from the server at the end of a chat session.
Expressive tools: Add stickers to chats, or, through built-in photo tools, doodle or add text to images. You can increase or decrease the size of a word or phrase to signify that you're whispering or screaming.
Confusing collection of messaging apps: Google says Hangouts will still be the go-to messaging app for businesses for videoconferencing. Duo will work for one-to-one video chat. And for general SMS, Google's Messenger is the default app. So that's now four Google-branded messaging apps you may have to juggle, in addition to those from Facebook, Apple, and others.
Looking to stand out in a crowded messaging field, Allo takes advantage of Google's strength in artificial intelligence to help you have smart and entertaining conversations with friends.