Google releases AI-driven messaging app Allo

Dive Brief:

  • Google has launched its latest messaging app, Allo, the company said in a blog post
  • Allo will have artificial intelligence and machine learning as a core function, serving as a virtual digital assistant, automating some messaging tasks and continually learning how the user actually uses the app to improve its suggestions.
  • Allo joins Google Home and the app Duo in laying the foundation for the company’s push into digital assistants as it looks to compete with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. 

Dive Insight:

With its digital assistant, Google wants to provide an ambient experience that works across devices, enabling users anywhere to call on Google for help in finding what they want and transacting. 

Digital assistants are ramping up quickly, with Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri in competition. Allo makes for an interesting one-two punch with Google’s recently released video calling and chat app Duo. Allo’s digital assistant taps into users’ massive data set from other Google activities such as Gmail and Chrome browser history so that it can, in theory, be more powerful than Apple’s Siri. It already has one advantage out of the starting gate in that it taps into Google search for in-app queries.

For marketers, if Allo catches on – and there’s no guarantee of that given Google’s track record with social tech – SEO for mobile search will become even more valuable since the app will be regularly running background mobile searches to provide its users with information.

The app also includes an end-to-end encrypted messaging mode called Incognito, although that mode automatically turns off the virtual digital assistant and provides enhanced security, such as messages with set expiration times. 

Allo is ultimately the latest indication that Google is doubling down on AI and machine learning, which was also evidenced this week by the company’s acquisition of chatbot software company API.ai. 

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