So Google has brought out some new messaging/communication apps….We were due a refresh, anyway. I love Google apps a lot, and I have used these since they were launched. Here is my review.
This is Google’s new messaging app. The setup process is fairly regular, the only interesting thing being that one has to log in with a working phone number in addition to a Google account. Very clean interface, and I like that. It is never going to be inundated by ads, which is a good thing. It gives conversation suggestions while you are chatting, which is nice. You have the option to increase or decrease the text size on the fly, to reflect your degree of expression, and you have a whole new set of stickers to play with, which are really fun. I like the fact that when you share a picture with someone, it fills the width of the phone, giving more info even without opening it up in full screen. It also has an incognito mode for your more private conversations.
I like this app. It emphasizes expression more than anything else, and I can’t really say enough about how I like the clean, material design-based interface. But what I think is the best part of it all is how they have baked Google Assistant into the app. It essentially works like Google Now On Tap, and gives you live search results on the content of your messages, be it an address or movie title. It can either be as a standalone chat function, or right from within your chat with another individual. It is so handy, and reminds us that Search will always be Google’s strong suit, and they will not let you forget that.
Simple. The only word needed to describe this. This is Google’s new video calling app. It is so simple you will feel very awkward using it sometimes, because it feels like there needs to be more that can be done or that you should do. But it works very well, especially over WiFi, but the mobile data quality is not bad either. It has this amazing feature called Knock Knock where when enabled, you can see what your caller is doing before you even pick up the call. It is so cool! I found myself just watching what my caller was doing, and forgetting to answer the call. Like Allo, it is also tied to your working phone number.
Also they have some of the cutest ads you will ever see! Here’s one of them:
I love these apps. They are simple, and work very well. Simple efficiency. They could easily replace a lot of present messaging apps I use.
I do have a few reservations. First, these apps are not multi-platform in their present configurations. This is a big drawback, because it means essentially that if you are not on the phone you used to install them, you will not have access to the facility. A lot of other apps even have desktop functionality, but this doesn’t. Sad.
Also, I just kept wondering what would happen if these were merged together into one super app. I don’t mind them separate, but I believe there are some who would prefer access to both at the same time. Allo has only chat functionality, and Duo has only video.
Google Hangouts was a bust for me, and I barely used it, but I like these apps, and I would suggest that Google discontinues support for Hangouts to move traction to these new offerings. Invite your friends to use both Duo and Allo, and see for yourself what they are all about.