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Allo and Duo are Google's next smart messenger and video chat apps

By PY Ho - on 20 May 2016, 3:40am

Google announces Allo and Duo

At Goole I/O 2016, Google unveiled two new communications apps, Allo and Duo. These apps aim to transform the way users communicate.


Allo can be categorized as a messaging app, but it's not just any ordinary one, but a smart messaging app.

In addition to the expected chat function, Allo utilizes Google Assistant (also newly annouced at I/O 2016) to smartly contextualize the conversation, such that users can also immediately perform actions within the app, while keeping the conversation flowing.

For example, in a conversation where two users are deciding where to eat, Allo is able to smartly detect that the conversation is about finding a dinner place. It will then recommend places to eat, and will continue with various suggestions right up till assisting the users with making a reservation.

How Google Assistant works in Allo (Image By: Google)

Allo is also able to smartly analyze and detect the content behind photos being shared. From the photos, it is able to provide the recipient suggested Smart Replies. For example, if someone sends a cat photo, Allo will suggest "Cute" as one of the smart replies.

Smart reply suggestions based on photo content (Image By: Google)

Allo will also feature an Incognito mode, whereby chats will have end-to-end encryption, and messages will destroy themselves after a set time.


Duo is a one-to-one video calling app, designed with user experience as top priority. Its defining feature is Knock-Knock, where the recipient will be able to have a live preview of who the sender is before you answer.

Knock-knock: See a preview of your friend before answering (Image: Google)

Duo is also able to automatically transition video quality, such that video calling will not interrupt or break even in a bad internet connection. In terms of security, video calling in Duo is end-to-end encrypted.

Launch timeframe

Allo and Duo will be available sometime in the third-quarter of this year, on both the Android and iOS platform.