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Google debuts Allo, an AI-based chat app using its new assistant bot, smart replies and more

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Howard Marsh
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Today at I/O, Google took the wraps off its latest foray into the world of communications: the company announced Allo, a smart messaging app supercharged with machine learning and Google s new Google Assistant service its answer to Amazon s Alexa , giving users the ability not just to chat to each other with animated graphics and enlarging/shrinking text, but to call in Google and later other third-party apps to share media, plan events, buy things, and even think of what to say to each other.

The iOS and Android app is being unveiled today, but it will only be live this summer, Google says.

So while there are already a number of popular messaging apps out there today like Facebook s WhatsApp and Messenger; Viber; Line; WeChat and others like Slack focusing on enterprise — it s no surprise to see Google pooling together its strong cards to see if it can make its own messaging product fly.

We are building search to be much more assistive, Google s CEO Sundar Pichai noted today during the I/O keynote when unveiling Google Assistant and the many helping nudges it gives you when you are looking for information through Google.com.

The features

As with other messaging apps, users of Allo will be able to find people to chat to based on their phone numbers, and those that use Google accounts for services like Gmail will also be able to call in their contacts from those services.

In addition to emoji and a whisper / loud mode where you can enlarge and shrink text to emphasize what you re saying, there are a number of AI-based details.

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Howard Marsh
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