In Google’s seemingly never-ending search for a decent, all-encompassing messaging app there has been many fall by the wayside. Today at Google IO they have announced new products that they hope to be the solution, Allo and Duo. Allo is the chat/messaging app and its companion app Duo is the video messaging app.


Allo is Google’s version of the next generation messaging app. It is a “smart messaging” app which learns from your chats. Within the chat Google Assistant is built in to enable the chat to be smarter. There are also new stickers and emojis plus a new expression technique called Whisper Shout. This allows the user to make the text to become large (Shout) or small (Whisper) with the swipe of the send button. The Smart Reply from Inbox has also been incorporated into Allo which learns over time allowing increasingly accurate reply suggestions rather than canned replies. The Smart Reply also works when someone sends a photo using both the content and context of the photo. The response are designed to be conversational responses.

The Google Assistant within Allo allows you to interact with Google from within the app without having to leave the app. Google Assistant learns the context of the conversation to help it’s replies be more useful. Also within Allo are games where you can play a game with Google. The games API will be available to developers for them to develop games for Allo.

There is incognito mode that allows you to have an incognito chat with someone that is deleted “from your device” after the window/chat is closed. It’s end to end encrypted, secure, with private notifications and more. It looks like it could have real potential … but equally, there’s many apps and services already out there doing this. Google seems to be playing catch up.


Alongside Allo, Google announced a new video call service called Duo. Duo allows the user to get a live preview of the caller before answering the call giving you context for the call, termed the Knock Knock feature. Duo uses a new video protocol called QUIC that allows Duo to establish an encrypted connection within a single round trip — in other words, calls will connect and stream almost instantly. Google are hoping that its ability to scale up and down the video quality based on the quality of the data connection will set it apart from other video messaging apps.

At this stage there is no mention of a web client but we suspect that one won’t be far behind.

Allo and Duo will be available this winter (Australian time) for both Android and iOS.

Update: If you want to make sure you know when Allo launches, head over to Google Play and hit the pre-register button. You can do the same for Duo, as well.

Google Allo
Google Allo
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free