Today, we have several messaging chat apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Telegram, Hike, WeChat, Line, and Google Hangouts. Recently, Google launched its messaging chat app, Allo for Android and iOS platforms that makes it one more to the list of already existing messenger apps. It is being pitted against the already established giants like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.
So, how is Google’s Allo different from other messenger apps? The thing that differentiates Allo from other messenger apps is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to help user conversations. Allo’s biggest asset is its integration with Google Assistant, the company’s conversational new virtual aid that can answer questions and make suggestions.
With the introduction of Allo, how would it fare against the messaging veterans like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger? Is it really better than WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger?
Let us check out the differences between all the apps:
Google Allo: With the backing of AI, Allo’s chatbot, Google Assistant offers its users brilliant web search facility and smart intuitive replies. Allo supports a feature called Smart Reply that pops up canned responses to incoming messages so users don’t have to spend time typing their replies to every message they receive. You can pull the Google Assistant in the middle of a chat, ask it to look up restaurants close by, or movie timings for later in the evening, or just play a game with the Assistant.
Google Allo also packs a lot of emojis and stickers that they can use to express themselves or add to conversations. The app gives users the ability to comment and scribble on photos and videos (Android only) before sending them along and has 25 sticker packs that were developed in collaborations with artists from around the world. Along with Gboard on iOS, a user can also send GIFs on Allo.
There’s also an Incognito chat mode for end-to-end encryption and the chats disappear after sometime. However, a user can make changes to the expiration time for each message in this Incognito mode. Groups chats are also supported on the app and a user can send an SMS for free to those who don’t have the Allo app. These replies from an SMS also come inside Allo.
Drawback: Google has decided not to encrypt any of the conversations that people carry on with Allo, making them easier to intercept and read. Google is apparently storing chats on its servers and not encrypting conversations because that makes it easier for Allo to learn from previous conversations, which in turn raises privacy concerns. Also, Google Allo doesn’t support file-sharing like WhatsApp or Telegram yet.
WhatsApp: WhatsApp Messenger’s biggest advantage is that it’s end-to-end encrypted by default, which means that your messages cannot be read by a third-party by WhatsApp or even Facebook. Once the message is deleted, it is gone forever. WhatsApp also supports voice-calling on the app itself. You can upload files from third-party apps like Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive into your WhatsApp messages, as it supported by them.
According to the latest Android Beta files, WhatsApp has plans to bring stickers, scribbling on photos, etc. very soon. WhatsApp is integrated with Siri in iOS, and the voice-assistant can send messages or make voice-calls directly on the app. WhatsApp is also planning to launch services on the app and you will soon have your bank or airline messaging you on it.
Drawback: In a big policy change recently announced by WhatsApp, it will start sharing information with Facebook, which is its parent company. A user has an option to opt out of this feature. Although no information will be ‘posted on’ Facebook, other information like device used, phone number, etc. will be shared with the social media giant in order to improve ads on the website.
Facebook Messenger: With over 1 billion monthly users, Facebook Messenger app already supports voice and video-calling feature. A user can also sync their mobile number with the app, and give it access to their SMS app as well. The app will automatically show all your Facebook friends in the contact lists. However, any requests from people who are not on your friends list end up in a separate ‘Message Requests’ folder on the app. A user has the option of accepting or declining these requests.
The app also supports GIFs, stickers as well and you can even scribble on photos before sending to them to someone. Facebook is also betting on chatbots for Messenger and looking to incorporate more services inside the app.
Drawback: End-to-end encryption is not included in Facebook Messenger by default. However, it has a separate Secret Conversation mode which does so and the messages will get deleted after sometime. This has yet to roll out. Similar to Google Allo, regular conversations in the app are not end-to-end encrypted. Also, the chatbots have so far not been a great success.
Snapchat: The app that has gained reputation as a “sexting” app allows teens to exchange user-generated photos, texts, videos, and calls — both audio and video. On the messaging side, Snapchat allows you to send stickers, pictures, photos, make video calls to your friends on the app. Snapchat has everyone’s interest from drawing on photos to face filters to Stories and Messages that disappear after 24 hours.
Snapchat allows users to share stories with a bunch of followers, and videos (up to 10 seconds) immediately. You can edit videos as you shoot them to add annotations, emojis, text, even a face filter as you’re recording it live. A user can also follow other important Snapchatters and see their stories as they post them. The recently added Discover feature keeps avid users up to date on current news and pop culture events.
Drawback: Not everyone can figure out the Snapchat app due to its complicated design, and it takes a while finding all the new features. Also, Snapchat is not end-to-end encrypted and messages are stored on the company’s servers for 30 days before they are deleted.