Google’s Allo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With a vast availability of smart devices both handheld and wearable, there’s no shortage of ways to stay in contact, and a quick internet search will show there’s more than a handful of messaging apps to choose from when using these devices. You might think the messaging app market is saturated, but Google just entered the game. The digital conglomerate introduced its messaging app called Allo on September 20, and there’s already a lot of opinions about the new player in the game. Keep reading to discover the good, the bad, and the ugly about Google’s Allo.

The Good: Say More and Do More With Allo

Google is dubbing Allo as the “smarter messaging app,” but what makes it so smart? The app comes with plenty of ways to express yourself, through larger emojis, different sized text that lets you “shout” or “whisper” at the person on the other end, and doodling on photos to turn your friends into memes. From day one of using the app, Allo gets to know you and how you express yourself via text. Shortly, you’ll notice suggested responses based on your personality. As you evolve, so does Allo.

Instead of wasting your time typing out a simple response to “Are you coming over,” respond “Yep” with one quick tap. Allo even suggests appropriate emoji responses, so you don’t have to decide which smiley face is best suited for your friend’s embarrassing story.

The Bad: Google Assistant Isn’t Yet Qualified for the Job

Google’s messaging app comes with a virtual assistant. It’s the one suggesting the crying emoji when your friend sends you the latest viral puppy video. But how well does Google Assistant perform? Allo is new, so it’s not surprising that it has some kinks to work out. However, you probably wouldn’t hire an assistant who isn’t exactly qualified for the job.

The New York Times contributor Brian X. Chen tried Allo for five days, so you don’t have to — at least until those kinks are worked out. Over the trial period, Chen found that the Assistant was often confused and non-specific. When suggesting movies to see, it simply listed the movies in theaters but neglected to include any showtimes; not exactly helpful when trying to make plans.

The Ugly: America’s Favorite Whistleblower Doesn’t Approve

Even worse than having some glitches typically expected from new technology, Google’s Allo has already made one very outspoken enemy — Edward Snowden. According to Snowden, Google’s app isn’t just lackluster; it’s dangerous. Because its smart feature uses what you say and do to predict future responses, it must collect and store everything you say and do. Snowden has taken to Twitter about Allo, claiming it will “record every message you ever send and make it available to police upon request.” If you have something to hide or just cherish your privacy, it may be best to avoid this app.

If an even quicker way to chat with friends and family is what you’re looking for, Google’s Allo is the answer to your prayers. However, if privacy is what’s important to you, maybe steer clear — at least until Snowden gives the okay.

Image via Flickr by Janellie