[Geekiness] 24 Hours with Google Allo

Google Allo Logo from the Play Store

‘Allo! Have you met Google Allo yet?

In case you haven’t heard, Allo is Google’s WhatsApp killer. Probably a little bit of Facebook’s Messenger too but I digress.

If you want to know more, you can check out Android Authority’s extensive coverage. They’ve done a really good job of highlighting the headline features of Allo and how to use them.

So, how has my 24 hours with Allo been?

Quiet, to say the least. There’s a very simple reason for this: I don’t have a lot of people who are on Allo. Part of this is because Allo is not very widely available, no matter what you read online. If you’re in Malaysia (and I suspect the greater part of South East Asia and beyond), you can only register to be notified on the Google Play Store when it’s available.

Still, the Bear (who’s a Google Fanboy as I am Fangirl) and I have been having fun with Allo. The stickers are cute and adorable, I love being able to shout instead of typing in ALL caps and whisper when I want to, but most of all, I love how it’s integrated movie listings when we talk about movies.

I admit, I did not realise how much I enjoy doodling on pics as much as I do until I had Allo.

That said, it does have a few flaws. I hesitate to use the word “flaw” though, since what I think are flaws can be perceived as preferences by others.

No desktop equivalent

Part of the reason why I love Hangouts so much is because it syncs seamlessly between desktop and mobile. It’s even better than WhatsApp in this respect; the latter requires the phone to have a connection to show your messages, but Hangouts doesn’t. Allo doesn’t have this, so it’s limited to a purely phone experience for now.

Images take up the entire screen

I send the bear a lot of screenshots because Allo’s auto-replies are a delight to behold. However, this can be confusing, because it looks like it’s part of the app. Plus, the thumbnails don’t indicate the part of the image I want to draw attention to – perhaps an option to crop or better delineation of the image would be improve things.

Profile photo requirement

I didn’t like that during registration, the camera was switched on and I was to take a selfie. Not quite the way I envisioned it to work.

Slow Release

It’s not an international release. I’ve seen people in the UK saying that they haven’t been able to download it, which tells you enough about their priorities. My biggest worry is that because of this, interest in Allo dies quickly and we will never see it get enough traction to defeat WhatsApp.

But as I mentioned earlier, there are things I love adore about Allo. And they far outweigh the cons (except for not having enough users, that’s something that needs to be fixed).

Auto-replies OMG

Suffice to say, I’ve been using Google keyboard and other Google products a LOT. It’s anticipated a LOT of my responses to the bear, which has made communicating easier and lazier for me. :P Still, I hope to see it be able to differentiate between lover and friend (ahem!).

Stickers

Yes, this seems to have been lifted straight from Line, but I do like how it gets the point across. Might need a search function but we’ll see.

Doodling on images? Much fun, very LOL

Suffice to say, it’s fun. No I’m not going to show that to you.

Google Assistant is quite helpful

She’s quite good so far at picking up things we’re searching for and showing the results to us. Have yet to try the food ideas, that’s going to be a hoot this weekend.

Youtube integration

I like how if I click on a Youtube link in the chat, the video plays INSIDE the app instead of launching the Youtube app. Very nice.

In terms of functionality, there’s a LOT about Allo that I really love. I think it’s unique and it stands out pretty well in the messaging app scene. What I do find annoying about some of its users are those who insist on turning it into a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger clone. Dude, you do NOT need Gif support. Seriously, that’s really juvenile.

You also don’t need to name mentions in a group chat. I hate that they introduced that in WhatsApp. It’s my most hated feature. Really, I muted the chat for a reason, I don’t need a spammer “acquaintance” suddenly adding me to a group and spamming my name (think Instagram random mentions and you’ll know what I mean).

Also, people who complain about it being activated on multiple devices have probably never used LINE, who started this craze. But please don’t let my bitterness stop you. Go play with Allo. And here’s the APK, if you need it. It’s now available for all!

Naoko @ Geminianeyes

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