Google's Allo and Duo Apps: Everything You Need to Know

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Google's Allo and Duo Apps: Everything You Need to Know
Highlights
  • Google unveiled the Allo and Duo apps at Google I/O 2016.
  • Allo is an instant messaging app with inbuilt Google Assistant integration.
  • Duo is a video calling app with end-to-end encryption.

Google has introduced two new apps called Allo and Duo for Android and iOS. Allo is an instant messaging app featuring the inbuilt Google Assistant, while Duo is a video calling app that claims to work well even on weak data networks.

Instead of making Hangouts better, Google has decided to bring in two new apps in the foray. Allo and Duo will take on apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, Viber, IMO, and many more. To make a mark in this congested market, Google has integrated a few key features that separate these two apps from the lot.

Allo is essentially an instant messaging app like all the others. However, it comes with features like Smart Reply and Google Assistant integration to make it stand out better. Smart Reply is a feature that gives you suggestions of replies while texting, and was first seen in Inbox by Gmail. It uses artificial intelligence to read your texting patterns and then pops suggestions accordingly. For example, it gathers over time whether you are a 'Hey' or a 'Hello' person, and suggests replies on top of the text bar. It also reads the images that are sent on the app, and suggests replies to that as well.

Allo also includes Google Assistant integration that brings search into the app. Users will be able to search hotels, flights, theatres and events all from one app without having to leave the conversation. It brings in tools like Maps, YouTube, and even Translate. The chat app has other unique features like the ability to increase the size of the text and even write on pictures before sending them on Allo.

Coming to Duo, Google's new video calling app is here to take on FaceTime, Skype, Viber, and others. It's a fairly simple app, and lets you call all your contacts on your phone (as long as they have the app installed). One of the biggest highlight is possibly Google claiming that it works evens on low networks.

Duo calls are in HD, however if the network is spotty, Google claims that the app adjusts the quality to keep the video call seamless. The app has a feature called Knock Knock which basically shows you a preview video of the caller, before picking it up. So instead of just the name, the video of the caller is also played at the back. Once the user picks up the call, the audio gets turned on, and the two parties can then converse easily.

Keeping the issue of privacy and security in mind, Google has introduced end-to-end encryption in the Duo app. In Allo, the search giant has introduced an incognito mode that will come with end-to-end encryption and discreet notifications. Google says that both of these apps are coming to Android and iOS this summer, with no specific date announced.

For all those wondering, this isn't the death of Hangouts. A spokesperson from the company told Business Insider that it will continue to invest in Hangouts as it is tied with its enterprise products, and office spaces will most likely continue to use it. 
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Tasneem Akolawala When not expelling tech wisdom, Tasneem feeds on good stories that strike on all those emotional chords. She loves road trips, a good laugh, and interesting people. She binges on movies, sitcoms, food, books, and DIY videos. More
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