Google announced the upcoming release of two new mobile-only messaging applications called Allo and Duo today on the company's IO Conference.
Other sites have covered both services already, so here is just the minimum you need to understand what the two messaging apps offer.
Google Duo is a video chat app that is tied to your device's phone number. It is available for iOS and Android, and is dead easy to use thanks to its streamlined interface that does not offer many options.
Probably the most interesting feature of Google Duo is that you see a video preview of the person calling you, but that is about it.
You see yourself in the upper part of the app when you launch it as if you were to take a new photo of yourself. From there, it is just the matter of tapping on a contact to start a video call. And that is it.
Google Allo is a messaging app that has an assistant built right into it. It too will only be available for Android and iOS, and be released this summer.
Allo ties to the phone number as well, and you may connect it to a Google Account if you want, but you don't have to.
It supports the usual stuff like emojis that every messaging app supports these days, and a couple of add-on features to that such as options to make text bigger or smaller before sending it or doodling on a photo before sending it to the chat partner.
The Google Assistant that is built into the app servers several purposes. First, it displays smart replies when you chat with someone. So, if someone posts a picture of their child, you may get something like aww, cute as a suggestion that you only need to tap on to send it to the chat partner.
The assistant learns from your chats and will base suggestions on that. Will be interesting to see if it fails as miserable as Microsoft's Twitter chat bot that turned into a troll straight out of 4Chan's playbook but since you are in command, it is probably less likely that this is going to happen.
Anyway, it means less typing and thinking if the feature is used, and more fun features in general for people who cannot get enough of them.
But the assistant offers more than that. It does the usual stuff that assistants like Cortana do these days, including giving you answers to questions you may have, booking a table at a restaurant and more.
The two new chat services that Google announced today don't replace any of the existing messaging applications by Google.
The company operates Hangouts and Messenger currently as well, and has a track record of creating (and destroying/renaming) messaging apps such as Google Wave, Google Talk, Gmail Chat, Google+ Hangout, Google+ Messenger.
Will all four messaging apps currently operated by Google survive in the long run? I highly doubt that this will be the case.
Success depends quite a bit on Google promoting these apps but the Google Reader incident has shown that success for Google is at a different level than it is for most Internet companies out there.
Now You: Are you interested in Google Duo or Allo?
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