Google has brought its new Allo messaging app to iOS, making an effort to pack as much functionality as possible into the messenger so that users don’t have to leave it to get outside information. The main selling feature is integration with Google’s other services, integrating search and calendar functions into the chat to give users the ability to look up information and make plans without toggling between multiple apps. The app includes a preview edition of the Google Assistant as well, giving users the ability to type @google to ask for help to find an address, look up a dinner location or find and share a YouTube video, all within the conversation in real time.
The app uses the context of your messages to offer Smart Replies, even going so far as to offer “aww cute!” as an option when it detects someone has sent a photo of their pet. The ability to scribble on photos and send stickers is somewhat similar to improvements Apple has added to Messages in iOS 10, drafting off the younger crowd’s love of the more light-hearted options offered in messaging apps like SnapChat. For the privacy-minded user, Allo offers an Incognito mode that turns on end-to-end encryption and adds privacy features like message expiration and discreet notifications.

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