Google debuts Allo, an AI- based chat program using its fresh assistant bot, intelligent replies and more

Android program and the iOS is being unveiled today, but it will only be live this summer, Google says.

Android program and the iOS is being unveiled today, but it will only be live this summer, Google says.

1-Expressiveness_cartoon_v4-GIF_abbrevIf you're a Google news watcher, Allo may not come as a complete surprise: back in December the WSJ reported the company was working on an AI-based messaging program: this appears to be that very product.

The app comes at an interesting time for Google. The company has made several efforts at constructing social products over time, but products like Google, Tide and Buzz never really caught on at a time when other products like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have taken off.

But on the other hand, Google is king in regards to information services from Search to more and Maps; its email service is extremely popular; it has a formidable engineering machine learning teams; and Google’s Android is the world’s most popular smartphone platform.

So while there already are numerous popular messaging apps out there now like Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger; Viber; Line; WeChat and others like Slack focusing on enterprise — it’s no surprise to see Google pooling together its powerful cards to see if it can make an unique messaging product fly.

Allo is also something that Google expects to match a wider shift in its own services are being used. “We are constructing search to be a whole lot more assistive,” Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai noted now during the I/O keynote when unveiling Google Assistant and the many helping nudges it gives you when you're seeking info through Google.com. He additionally noted that some 50% of queries nowadays are coming from mobile, so the audience is there.

Although Google apparently tried to acquire a minumum of one startup — 200 Laboratories, now called ChatFuel –to help build Allo, the program was developed in-house by Google’s own teams headed by Erik Kay, manager of engineering for Google’s Communicating team, who also directed today’s demo at I/O.

Additionally crucial that you notice: The Hangouts cellular app — which also offers a chat option — is not going away. Google says it'll continue to invest in and upgrade this alongside Allo.

The features

The features

As with other messaging apps, Allo users will manage to find people to chat to based on their phone numbers, and those that use Google accounts will also have the capacity to call in their own contacts from those services.

Users can have basic conversations with each other using Allo, but the program looks like it will really come into its own when using all its bells and whistles.

As well as emoji and a “whisper” /”loud” manner where text can enlarge and shrink to emphasize what you’re saying, there are several AI- based details.

These will include a Smart Response characteristic that's similar to the one in Inbox, that will indicate answers to you personally for dialogues to ensure that you do’t need to type anything. As with Inbox’s Smart Answer, the program will “ learn you answer to matters to make more important propositions to you.

Smart Reply may also work with pictures in Google Pictures, implying answers to images (only somewhat creepy…) to keep a conversation going when you ca’t be troubled to answer ‘yum’ to a food pic maybe.

One other interesting thing is how Google has incorporated its own bot-established Google Assistant that it announced earlier during I/O.

This may have some natural language skill, so that you could chat with it or ask it questions, or summon into a group chat when planning something, and it'll give answers to you. The helper will have the ability to reference services that one can already see in other, existing programs that are Google: for example, airplane times, sports scores, what’s on at search queries, place locations, and the theatre.

Over time, Google will probably let programmers integrate with the bot that is assistant so that it can reference information from these third-party services. If the assistant proves to work better than some of the other bots that we’ve seen launched from other messaging businesses time will tell. This will bring in games and a lot more attributes over time.