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Google Allo Messaging App Launches For iOS and Android (phonedog.com) 98

An anonymous reader writes: Google has officially launched their long-awaited messaging app for iOS and Android, called Google Allo. There are several unique features associated with this app that Google hopes will win you over. Smart Reply lets you respond to messages with just a tap, so you can send a quick "yup" in response to a friend asking "Are you on your way?" It will also suggest responses for photos. For example, if you send a picture of a dog, Smart Reply might suggest a heart emoji or "Super cute!" message, which you can select and send with a tap. Google says Smart Reply will improve over time and adjust to your style. You can also send large or small text and emojis, as well as draw on pictures. There's an incognito mode that will activate end-to-end encryption, discreet notifications, and message expiration on your chats. Arguably best of all is the Google Assistant that can be added to your chats to automatically cater useful information to you depending on what is being conversed in the chat. For example, it can deliver news, weather, traffic, sports or your upcoming flight status to your chat. You can also ask your Assistant to "share that funny YouTube video or play games with friends right in your group chat." Google Allo is rolling out to Android and iOS starting today.
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Google Allo Messaging App Launches For iOS and Android

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  • by mbeckman ( 645148 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @03:36AM (#52929609)
    This is one kind of AI that computers might well excel at. By automating our insincerity, we'll have more time to hunt for pokemonsters, and to while away on Twitter (aka Automated Impropriety).
    • It's my favorite feature. I send people on FB "Happy automated Birthday message" (literally) when FB shows the "today is Friend #890 Bday! tap here to wish them a birthday." Look mom - I *will* call you today I promise. The rest of you get an automated message to make you feel good.

      Automated responses work great on my iWatch - no typing, just pick the appropriate answer (although new watchOS doesn't suggest as well as previous version did). Terrific for limited UI.

      But I find most of these replies to

  • Google Messenger (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @03:40AM (#52929623)

    So what happened to Google Messenger? Right. They crippled it, stopped updating the application binary, and forced everyone to use a crap HTML 5 version of it inside GMail. That's what happened.

    I don't get the need to constantly rename the same thing over and over. Just don't kill products that people actually like that work Google.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @03:43AM (#52929627) Homepage Journal

      It's missing the one killer feature every messaging app needs anyway: full end to end encryption that is on by default.

      • So you are telling me that Google Talk, I mean XMPP, doesn't support encryption? BS. What the news are calling the "new feature" of Allo is an AI that automagically guesses what you want to say so you have to type less. Sounds more like something that is sending data back to the server so they can datamine it to me.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Encryption is supported but not enabled by default. You have to make every conversation private manually.

        • No. Google Assistant is that AI that does these guesses, Allo Allo is a messenger app. (I can't help typing this with a fake french accent in my head)

          But I wonder why Assistant couldn't be integrated in an existing platform.

          • "No. Google Assistant is that AI that does these guesses, Allo Allo is a messenger app. (I can't help typing this with a fake french accent in my head)"

            Fail. You should have begun that sentence with: "Listen carefully, I shall say this only once!"

        • [...] Google Talk, I mean XMPP [...]

          There is extensive evidence that Google is no longer using XMPP, short of their legacy "Google Talk Service" end point, which is near useless since they have chosen not to implement the TLS-enforcing RFC 3920 (ratified back in 2004), leaving the vast number of XMPP servers unwilling to establish a connect to Google Talk anymore. They are killing it by slow-poisoning over a decade. That's one way to do it... More to the point, there is **no** evidence Allo or Duo are built on XMPP.

    • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @03:43AM (#52929629)
    • Don't worry, now that they've launched this, Messenger and Gchat are on borrowed time. Expect the plug to be pulled any day now...

    • I don't get the need to constantly rename the same thing over and over. Just don't kill products that people actually like that work Google.

      Not a Star Wars fan, then, huh?

    • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @09:23AM (#52930865)

      So what happened to Google Messenger? Right. They crippled it, stopped updating the application binary, and forced everyone to use a crap HTML 5 version of it inside GMail. That's what happened.

      I don't get the need to constantly rename the same thing over and over. Just don't kill products that people actually like that work Google.

      Part of what I was wondering. How many freaking messaging apps do we need? Aside from Google Messenger, there is also Message+, Messaging, Hangouts, Duo, all this just from Google itself. (Aside from which, I have WhatsApp.) In the meantime, quite a number of these are not there on the tablet, or if they are, they refuse to use the tablet's own cellular phone#, instead asking to use one's registered phone# (in which case, why wouldn't I just stick to the phone?) As an example, FaceTime works on both iPhones and iPads, and doesn't require a phone# on the latter. Duo doesn't work on Android tablets, just phones. So now they'll do something else for that, I guess?

      Dear Google, the messaging market is by now pretty mature - not only by your own myriad offerings, but also others in the Play Store. Might as well focus on more interesting things, like maybe your own version of Pokémon Go

    • Re:Google Messenger (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ripvlan ( 2609033 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @09:53AM (#52931049)

      I'm having the same confusion. I've read the blogs and understand why the keep refactoring and refactoring. But now I'm confused by what app I should be using.

      Google Voice has a "chat" (SMS) app that totally sucks. Wait - isn't Hangout supposed to fix this? (no). Now I'm using Hangout - but Voice in GMail (browser) is what pops up.

      And if I'm using Allo - who can I chat with? FB users? iMessage? SMS? Just my Google+ friends? The pie is the whole world but this slice is thin. I've given up trying to use 5 apps tied to an experience. SMS is the universal - I go there first. Since that is iMessage for me I get the added feature bonus when chatting with fellow Apple users....but I don't care. I don't use FB messenger because - that's on FB. Hangout? That's only G+. Having to remember which app works for each person is mind boggling - just use SMS platform of the phone. done. Now - if I don't have their phone# I'll use the app. But that's easier to remember.

      • I have since used Allo. It is telephone# / SMS only - so I registered my Google Voice number. I can't chat with my G+ friends - nor those in my "Circles." Unless I'm totally missing something.

        This is worse than iMessage. Apple lets you (optionally) find people by email (they might be Mac only users without a phone). With iMessage I register via multiple contacts (email(s) & phone#). So people searching for me can use whatever contact info they have (not everyone has my phone#)

        It gets worse. I se

  • Allo launched.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @03:52AM (#52929647) Journal
    ......and became discontinued shortly after gaining popularity.
  • Tagline... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @03:54AM (#52929653)

    I shall say this only once...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    After careful consideration, we have decided to discontinue the Allo Messaging App, so that we can focus on our core user experience.

    We would like to thank everybody who used Allo, and recommend that existing users switch to our Hey! App.

    • You're getting ahead of yourself. They have at least two other messaging platforms to kill off that are used by millions of people before they kill off this new one prematurely.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 @04:25AM (#52929717)

    Now I can replace myself with a very small script. And be social despite being an antisocial asshole who can't be assed to spend half a minute reading a message and ten more seconds replying to it.

    If both people have that app, they can essentially let their phones be friends and needn't even know that they befriended each other. Or you can stay "in touch" with a friend without all the hassle of human-human interaction, just let your phone stay in contact with his phone to create the illusion that you still talk to each other, kinda like an old married couple.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can also wake up to a SWAT raid because one of the apps brought up the news of a recent terrorist attack, and the two apps had a long automated discussion about how "super cute" it was.

  • Telephone and postal services were created in times, when governments heavily regulated all aspects of business. Thats why you can call even today from anywhere to anywhere else. Computer messaging is OTOH left unregulated to free market competition, therefore soon everyone will have his/her own messaging app incompatible with everyone else. You will have as many messaging apps installed as people you need to talk to.
    • What I don't understand is that even people here on slashdot praise these crappy proprietary messaging solutions and some even use / apologize the use of one of the worst of them all, iMessage/FaceTime, which is only available on a single platform in addition to being proprietary and non standard.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Correction: iMessage/FaceTime is available on two platforms: iOS and macOS. It's not like WhatsApp, which is unavailable to computer-only users by design.

        • Two different OS, but from a single vendor. Also from what I understand, iMessage on MacOS/iPad-without-cellular is limited if you don't have an iPhone/iPad-with-cellular.

          I agree that it is stupid to design a messaging protocol based on a phone number as an identifier. It's the main reason why WhatsApp on PC is unavailable.

        • Also, both iMessage & FaceTime can be used on both iPhones and iPads. Although if you have a cellular iPad, they won't use the phone# of the iPad, but will ask for that of a registered iPhone. Google's apps tend to be phone only
    • And that's why the heavy government regulation of email is why I can send an email from my account to anyone, no matter what mail-provider he or she is using?

      I see where you're coming from, but you can't dismiss email as a one-off event.

      I'd say it's not regulation (or lack thereof) that is to blame, but rather a sense of competition instead of cooperation. After all, communication is about cooperating. Or used to be, until it became a euphemism for marketing, propaganda and all other kinds of misinformation

      • And that's why the heavy government regulation of email is why I can send an email from my account to anyone, no matter what mail-provider he or she is using?

        You can send an email. But even if your server correctly uses DKIM and SPF, your server's outgoing mail will likely just end up in the recipient's junk mail folder unless you lease an increasingly scarce static IPv4 address and qualify and pay for an EV certificate to give your mail server "instant reputation".

  • Looking for Allo i also found "Google Duo".
    What the fuck is that all about? It looks like a clone of hangouts.
    Which one should i use? And by that i also mean which one is NOT gonna get discontinued next month so that i can suggest it to my friends and relatives?
    • Allo is text, Duo is video.
      • Ok so hangouts (which currently does both) is the one getting phased out?
        But then again... why separate?
        Who the hell is making such a mess at google? A typewriting chimp?
        • Who the hell is making such a mess at google? A typewriting chimp?

          Having succeeded at making a bunch of good apps, Google has attempted to improve them. They break something in G+ every month or so doing the same shit. I'm pretty sure that Google has lost most of their most competent engineers and is now just on the burn cycle. They're showing every sign.

        • Not to mention that Hangouts integrates nicely with Google Voice, which, I believe has its days numbered.

        • The idea is to make two stand-alone apps that both do one thing well, and then to market them across both (all?) main mobile platforms. They want to create direct competitors to iMessages and FaceTime.

          The bar is pretty low, since neither of those two applications have "killer features", so what Google really needs to get right is critical mass with its user base, and diversity in its install base (platform-wise).
  • I'm still trying to understand why did Google kill GTalk, replaced with that stupid Hangouts, and never release a desktop app, they had everything going with GTalk and for some reason they decided to kill it, now everyone else has switched to other services.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Everyone I know that used Google Talk switched to Hangouts for the simple reason it was a continuation (though the EOL of the desktop application in favour of a shitty browser plugin was dumb), Allo/Duo however is completely moronic as they exist in parallel are disconnected. I haven't installed Duo, and won't be installing Allo, I'm sure as a Nexus user they'll eventually appear on my devices but I'll disable them at that point.
      • Everyone I know that used Google Talk switched to Hangouts for the simple reason it was a continuation (though the EOL of the desktop application in favour of a shitty browser plugin was dumb), Allo/Duo however is completely moronic as they exist in parallel are disconnected. I haven't installed Duo, and won't be installing Allo, I'm sure as a Nexus user they'll eventually appear on my devices but I'll disable them at that point.

        In my case, everyone that used GTalk do not use Hangouts, unless it's strictly necessary, i use it to talk to one person only, and i'm not happy about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It will one day translate French and German messages into English with a French and German accent respectively.

  • At this rate, I can ignore the messaging craze completely, as my 2018 it'll only consist of AI bots pretending to be people. Then I can grab a beer and read a book under a shady tree, secure in the knowledge that my personal brand is being maintained by my AI bot.

  • And it will likely fail for the same reason Google Plus did: Most people are already on other services and can be bothered to switch to this one
    • Just tried Allo - it is SMS contacts only. So I can't find my Hangout / G+ only friends (no email or "circles" only contacts).

      It is nice that they realized we're all SMS users "first" -- but failing to tie it into Google is very strange.

  • So, Google created a brand new app with tons of fancy features, but it lacks the basic functionality that most other modern text messaging apps have to schedule messages to be sent at a later time/date?

    No, thanks.

    • Doesn't seem like a crucial feature to me. What would you use it for?
      • "Hi - I'm dead" ? Scheduled for 50+ years out?

        or "Get up kid - your breakfast is on the counter - I've gone to work so it's your responsibility to get on the bus !!! - Love Mom/Dad"

      • I use it almost daily for reminders. Calendar works to remind yourself, but not to remind others.

        Are you almost finished with that project? - Boss schedule's text to subordinate for next Thursday.

        Did you stop and pick up the milk? - Wife schedules text to husband for 5:30pm

        • Interesting, never thought about using an instant messenger this way. Which messengers support this? I use Hangouts, Signal and WhatsApp. No more desktop clients as I use too many devices; my BBM, ICQ and Skype accounts are inactive. None of those allowed scheduled delivery IIRC.
          • Someone showed me this on WhatsApp, I thought. Samsung's default messenger does it. I've started using Textra to do it. And I was just told that Facebook messenger does it.

            • Doesn't seem to be possible on WhatsApp without third-party apps. I don't use the other messengers you mention.
      • I use it to schedule birthday messages. I also find it very useful to send messages when a person is most likely to notice the message when it arrives so that it doesn't get lost among all their other notifications.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can't find a way to do that in Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Discord, Google Voice or any text messaging app I've used on Palm OS, Blackberry or Android. I don't remember that feature existing on ICQ, AIM or Google Talk either. While I can see some people wanting that feature, I have to disagree on "most other modern text messaging apps" having it.

  • One thing I really like about Hangouts is that it has a Desktop client/Chrome Extension. Whatever you call it. I can chat on my computer without taking my phone out of my pocket.

    A Quick look and it what I could see then there only a phone client. And you can only have it active on one device at the time. So no Tablet and Phone active at the same time. (I know that it runs on phone number. But you could just verify the new login with manual entering a code on the tablet/Desktop. Og even make it optional to l

  • I simply never trust encryption when it is from the same vendor that controls the device, software, cloud, etc. Unfortunately everyone mentions malware or hackers as their fears. The corporations and government are way worse. If I use a cloud storage app, I encrypt my data on my linux box first, then push into the cloud. Same with this. If Pidgin or some other open, 3rd party makes a client function within the Allo protocols, I'll use my own end to end encryption with an app not controlled by Google.

  • After years of trying a myriad of communication apps, I though Hangouts was the one. A cross-platform system that unified all of my communications. Coupled with Google Voice/Google Fi/ on my Nexus 5x - it was damn good.

    It took me a year to get all the iOS users around me to install Hangouts. They didn't want to be bothered with yet another communication app - but I stuck with it and eventually everyone got on Hangouts.

    Now Google wants me to do the same with two more apps - and then force me to be tethere

  • Google Hangouts is probably the only Google product without a search feature, so I stuck with the basic sms app on my phone...does this one have a search feature?
  • What is Google thinking? Google Allo cannot be used as a default SMS app. If a text message is sent from Allo to a non-Allo user, the recipient would get a relay message asking him or her to join Allo. Google now has Hangouts (which can be used as a default SMS app), Allo (?), Duo (video messaging), Voice (?), and Messenger. What is the need for these apps?!

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