Google Duo’s better half, Allo, was announced at Google I/O this year and will be making way to Android Play Store very soon. However, the folks at Android Police seem to have got access to its preview test version and there are a host of new features Google seems to have taken from WhatsApp and Snapchat.
WhatsApp is easily the most used messaging application out there and Snapchat is the boss of sending disappearing messages and videos to friends. Combining the best of both worlds, Google seems to have added these features in its new standalone app.
The app will be complementing the Duo as both the apps will practically offer what Hangouts has been doing until now. However, these apps are expected to be light and will take on the individuals leaders in the market like WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime and Snapchat.
There have been plenty of leaks in the past week, so we have summarized a few for you –
1) Voice Messaging
According to Android Police, this seems to be very reminiscent of WhatsApp’s voice messaging feature. In Allo, the user will have to hold down the microphone button on the bottom left, like WhatsApp, and keep it pressed for the time the user wants it to be recorded. In fact, cancelling the voice message is very similar to WhatsApp’s, the user just has to swipe left to send it to the bin.
2) User interface
The user interface also seems to very similar, with cleaner animations and backgrounds, however thse overall theme remains much the same. There will be, like WhatsApp, single and double ticks to differentiate delivered and read messages.
3) Google Assistant integration
Yes, the text messaging app will come preloaded with a Google Assistant that talks back to you, just like Siri. Except, you can talk to it on your Allo app instead of a specific screen.
4) Number verification
Just like Duo, Allo will also request verifying you through your cellular number, which is something we have also seen with WhatsApp. We understand this is required to add your contacts to the list but why cannot they learn from Facebook, where a number if not even required! However, Android Police is also saying that Allo will allow you to connect to your Google account if you want to, however it is not a mandate.
5) In-app search
This is something that has been missing on Hangouts and is definitely very important. Allo has the option to search for specific keywords and messages inside the app itself, so you don’t have to browse through your Gmail conversations. This feature has been available on WhatsApp for quite some time and helps to rewind specific conversations.
6) Delete old chat messages
This is another feature that wasn’t available on Hangouts. Nothing out-of-the-box, Google is just adding a small feature to allow you to delete old messages from your device, while these will still be there on the recipient’s phone.
7) Incognito chats and self-destructing messages
Snapchat and Telegram have had this for quite some time now and Allo is getting it as well. If you’re familiar to Google Chrome’s incognito mode, you will know what I’m talking about. The chats will be end-to-end encrypted, which is something every company boasts off to show how secure they are.
However, in incognito mode, Google Assistant won’t be able to work and that is a bummer. Incognito chats will have a blue background instead of a white background on regular chats, the icon in the conversation list will show the incognito mode ‘detective’ guy on the photos, the notifications won’t read anything unless you open the specific conversation. This is quite interesting because all you will be able to see is that you received a message.
Just like Snapchat, Allo will feature disappearing texts that can be configured to expire in hours, days or even minutes. When you chat with someone and set an expiration time, the other person will be able to view the message for that particular amount of time only. The exact details are not available yet, but stay tuned for the full rollout of the app.
Even before the release, we know that the app is going to face a lot of flak from Governments across the globe for having end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages that can help terrorists in their motives. However, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have been working just fine, without threatening the security of nations.
Google does not have an official release date of the app, but we expect it to be released within a month or so. Are you excited about this new messaging app rivaling WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger? I am excited especially for disappearing texts and Google Assistant and can’t wait to get my hands on the preview version.
"Google Allo Test Version Leaks with Voice Messaging, Self-Destructing Texts and Private Notifications",