Google launches another truckload of messaging apps

Martin Brinkmann
May 18, 2016
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

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.

So many chat services

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?

Google launches another truckload of messaging apps
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Google launches another truckload of messaging apps
Google announced the upcoming release of two new mobile-only messaging applications called Allo and Duo today on the company's IO Conference.
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  1. Patrick D.M. Outhier said on May 20, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I miss having a Google Talk desktop client that stored logs in my email and the client being able to pull them.
    Also the client not being part of my browser.

  2. someone said on May 20, 2016 at 9:35 am

    MOAREE messaging apps to let us communicate… just what the world needs.

  3. micro said on May 19, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I think this is going to work. Google soon will launch Instant Apps feature.
    Want to use the assistant? Instant launch Allo
    Want to see caller’s video preview? Instant launch Duo
    Something like that? One app for one feature, so futuristic!

    1. meh said on May 20, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Google is still adhering to UNIX-rules about programs.
      A program needs to do one thing and do it well. No need for Swiss Army Knives, which has everything, but most of the things are unusable or shitty. Goddamn Victorinox knife, the fork is so pointless

      “Small is beautiful.
      Make each program do one thing well.
      Build a prototype as soon as possible.
      Choose portability over efficiency.
      Store data in flat text files.
      Use software leverage to your advantage.
      Use shell scripts to increase leverage and portability.
      Avoid captive user interfaces.
      Make every program a filter.”

  4. Rafeal Cardozo said on May 19, 2016 at 3:50 am

    Not gonna trust Google with messaging apps after they shuttered GTalk and replaced it with Hangout. might as well they hang themselves with it.

  5. Earl said on May 18, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    I like Uno. That’s where I talk to myself.

    1. Jeff said on May 19, 2016 at 4:38 am

      I like Solo. It involves a little more than talking.

  6. slumbergod said on May 18, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    EPIC FAIL. Google have created such a mess of their messaging apps. And I am not aware of any of them having end-to-end encryption.

  7. Yuliya said on May 18, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    VK and Skype, besides SMS, for me.

    Hmm, I wonder if they will boundle these on their newer Nexuses. I hope not. That’d be hilarious: Messaging, Hangouts, Duo and Allo.
    Anyway, I can see Duo competing with Skype (but why? nobody knows), but Allo sounds like straight up bloatware. These auto learning assisstants never worked and I doubt they ever will. At least to the degree of being useful and not annoyances that everyone disables in the first place.

  8. Jackson said on May 18, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Sit back and wait for the 2017 headline ‘Google shutters it’s Allo and Duo messaging apps’.

  9. Andrew said on May 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    So I guess Google bought new real estate for their graveyard and eventually want to fill it up.

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