After being introduced at the Google I/O conference earlier this year, Google Allo has only recently launched, yet people are already suggesting it will replace WhatsApp. Although we both believe that Allo’s Smart Reply function and Google Assistant connection are some really logical improvements, there is still a long way to go before it can be considered a serious rival to WhatsApp, which is controlled by Facebook. You must have liked Allo if you used it, and you must have wondered how it compares to WhatsApp. Let’s find out, then!
We are comparing Google Allo with WhatsApp from the perspective of an Android user, but the most of the comparisons should hold true for iPhone users as well.
Google Allo: What s Unique?
The features you would typically find in a messaging app, such as the ability to share material and your location, customise notifications, read receipts, audio messages, support for GIFs, group conversations, etc. are all present in Google Allo, just like WhatsApp. Let’s speak about the features that set Google Allo apart from the wildly popular WhatsApp, though.
Let’s start with a rather basic feature that many people have been requesting for WhatsApp: stickers. Allo includes stickers as well as a link to an online store where you can download more. Currently, there are not many stickers in the market, but as Allo gains more popularity, this should soon change.
Shout or Whisper a Message
Allo lacks text formatting capabilities, but it does include a clever shout & whisper function that lets you change the size of text to make it more expressive. Simply start typing a message and hold down the send button to change the text’s size.
In addition, Google Allo offers a fantastic incognito chat mode that is comparable to Telegram’s hidden conversations feature. This mode includes a self-destruct timer, covert alerts, and end-to-end encryption for all chat messages. Another feature that WhatsApp lacks is self-destructing messages, thus Allo gains some brownie points in this case.
This is where Google Allo really shines. Many messaging apps are available today, but none of them poses a threat to WhatsApp since they lack a differentiating feature. Allo’s Smart Reply, on the other hand, adds to the messaging app’s addictiveness. As we have tested the feature and can attest, Smart Replies are AI-based reply suggestions to a text or a photo. They are not a gimmick. For instance, Allo offers you reply suggestions such as “Good and u,” “I’m ok,” “You?” and “Good, u?” when you receive a message such as “How are you?”
Even when a picture is sent, it offers you possible responses. If you receive a picture of a dog, for example, Allo will suggest responses like “Cute dog!” and “So cute!” You don’t even need to open the app because these intelligent responses are available right in the notification shade.
While Allo’s Smart Reply feature can’t now handle complex messages, Google claims that over time as it picks up on your communication style, it will become much better. In general, Smart Reply comes in handy when you need to quickly respond to messages while on the go. After using it, you’ll probably wish WhatsApp also had this feature.
You will sorely miss this feature on WhatsApp because it makes Allo a lot more useful texting software. Google Helper exceeds our expectations for a virtual assistant from Google. The Assistant is already built into Allo, and you may use it between chats by using @google or starting a new chat thread for it. To learn about all of its features, you might ask What can you do. You can use it to navigate, play games, translate languages, get weather information, flight information, news, and more. Even setting an alarm or reminder can be done using it.
You don’t even need to leave a discussion to check flights, the weather, the news, or anything else for that matter because everything operates inside the app. You may ask it to sing a song, tell a joke, or just talk to it because it’s unlike Google Now and has a personality similar to Siri or Cortana if you’re bored.
Stickers and secret chats might not be enough to convince a user to use Allo, but Google Assistant and Smart Reply are two highly alluring features. In conclusion, WhatsApp should be afraid! Even though WhatsApp has many features, it doesn’t have the same level of sophistication as Google Allo.
What Allo Lacks?
Given that Google Allo is still in its infancy as a messaging service, there are many capabilities that WhatsApp has that Google Allo does not. It depends on you because not all of them are deal-breakers. Let’s look at several things WhatsApp has that Allo does not.
You will definitely miss making calls via WhatsApp if you have grown accustomed to Allo.
Last Seen, Status and Read Receipts Control
The WhatsApp Calls feature is incredibly helpful because it allows you to make calls via WiFi or mobile data and functions effectively even if your internet connection is strong. You won’t have to be concerned about using up a lot of your mobile connection bandwidth because it also has a data conservation mode. Although Google does provide video calling through Duo, the fact that it requires a different app doesn’t make for a pleasant user experience.
Share Files and Text Formatting
Depending on what you desire, the absence of WhatsApp’s last seen functionality in Google Allo may or may not be a positive thing. But you have to admit that looking at someone’s last seen is a reliable indicator of whether they are active or not. Additionally, unlike WhatsApp, Allo does not display a user’s current online status and, although including read receipts, there is no option to disable them. Status updates are another feature that Allo lacks. While this isn’t strictly a deal-breaker, it is useful if you want your contacts to be aware of recent developments in your life. Additional privacy-related features added to WhatsApp include the ability to hide the last seen, profile image, or status.
In addition to media sharing, WhatsApp also enables you to transmit spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, and other types of documents to contacts. Allo, on the other hand, limits sharing to media and location. Additionally, Allo lacks formatting options like bold, italics, and strikethrough that WhatsApp offers.
Unlike WhatsApp, which lets you backup your chats on Google Drive (Android) and iCloud (iPhone), Allolacks any sort of backup feature, which is certainly surprising, considering it s Google. When you uninstall and reinstall the app on your device, you only get the names of the group chats and none of your chats are restored. Although Google will eventually provide backup functionality, some users may find the lack of a backup capability to be a deal-breaker.
This could be even another deal-breaker for some people. Google Allo is currentlylimited to Android smartphones and the iPhone, which might annoy people who want to access their messages on a computer too. On the other hand, WhatsApp offers a web client as well as a desktop app and while they don t run independently, they are pretty useful if you want to use the messenger from your computer.
If you’ve used Google Allo, you’ve probably noticed that its user interface resembles WhatsApp a lot, and that’s not a coincidence at all. Google knows WhatsApp is the most popular messenger out there and the simple UI is what makes the app appeal to every section of users. There are minor differences though, as Allo incorporates Google s much lauded Material Design a lot better, with the floating button and usage of colors.
Also, it includes the hamburger menu, which opens up a navigation drawer, which in my opinion, is much easier to access, when compared to WhatsApp s three-dot menu button on Android, especially on larger phones. Also, I like the fact that Google Assistant is integrated right into the app and there s not a specific page or interface dedicated to it, which might have resulted in a cluttered experience. Overall, WhatsApp and Allo, both have a pretty similar UI, which is simple to use and straightforward. Having said that, theAllo interface does look more modern.
WhatsApp has been panned in the past for offering pretty modest security to users, however, that changed with the recent release that brought end-to-end encryption.
Google Allo lacks a bit when it comes to the security, as itonly incorporates end-to-end encryption in the incognito chat mode. Also, with Google Assistant integrated and bringing you answers and contextual results, it s obvious Google is taking up data from your messages. While this will improve the Smart Reply and Assistant features, it isn t the most secure process.
Google Allo vs WhatsApp: Comparison Table
|Text Formatting||Font Size Increase or Decrease||Font, Bold, Italics, Strikethrough|
|Virtual Assistant or Bot||Yes||No|
|End to End Encryption||Incognito Chat only||App-wide|
|Availability||Android, iPhone||Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Web|
Google Allo vs WhatsApp: The War Is On!
To sum things up,WhatsApp is the more secure solutionof the two, considering it s only sharing user data like mobile number, contacts etc. and not the messages with Facebook. On the other hand, Google Allo lacks end-to-end encryption across the app and the Smart Reply & Assistant features will surely take up your message data to get better.
When it comes to messaging app, what makes or breaks them is the user base. We only use apps that our friends use and why would you use a messaging app that your friends aren t using. So, the point is, while Allo might be well equipped with killer features, it will be important to see if it s compelling enough to make people use it for a long duration. If it manages that, then yes, we finally have an equivalent competition to WhatsApp.