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Google Allo, it takes more than a bot to win WhatsApp

If Google’s ways are inscrutable general, if we talk about applications they are even a little more. When the giant had simply cover both voice messaging and video Hangouts so far, in the last Google I / O I presented two new services related to communication: Duo and Allo.

What is it that brings Google now when there are so many proposals instant messaging? We are seeing an ingredient incorporated into the most popular apps and take some more time as Facebook Messenger or Telegram: bots. Thus, in Allo we have two levels of interaction possible and the option of extreme power. We show how it is and how it works in detail.

A personal assistant for all at once or in private

Sometimes we say that Google is everywhere, and this is precisely the idea of Allo regarding the talks, albeit with caveats. Just over a year ago we saw a patent he did see how Google intended to answer questions in conversation , and just that is what we see applied in Allo (with some reservation that we shall see), given that at any time can resort to searching for to assist us.

But in this case it is not something passive, but we have to direct the bot (@google) directly in a conversation, or mentioning in group discussions. Thus, since the moment Allo only has this bot (do not know if incorporated others later), it is as simple as putting a “@” to suggest we mention @google bot. Since in this case we cannot make references to other users (as in Slack or Telegram) at the moment is the only one we can make.


Image Source: Google Image

The question is: why resort to Google bot? As mentioned, it is to help us when we want to obtain information or perform an action from the chat without resorting to other apps. The benefits depend on several aspects, such as the type of chat that is, since some only done in private chats, plus incognito in the bot is disabled.

Also it depends on what is the syntax and language, because in fact the language barrier is the first thing we find little that we begin to ask or demand. Therefore, we must use simple and specific commands such as those used in voice assistants, but as happens in such cases there is also room for some pseudo-human interactions as jokes or expressions.

Enough to offer, but one must know how to ask

What we have to keep in mind is now in its initial phase the bot understands and responds not only in English but in other languages interaction is much more limited. Thus, if the command does not understand what it does it is look on the web, much like Siri acts and other attendees. This is the list of requests that we can make:

Live chat with the bot

  • Generic and simple questions : ask for news ( What’s the latest news? ), How we can help ( What can you do? ) Or something more human questions like their favorite color (What’s your favorite color?) And even joke or proverbs tell us ( tell me a knock knock joke / proverb / … , this in have not yet understood, for example) or we play a YouTube video (with the formula Playor Play artist).
  • Functions for phone : set an alarm or timer ( Wake me up at [time] or Set time for [time], available only on Android), call a restaurant (we indicate the direction and the city of) or asked to show us a path or the time it will take to get somewhere. If in this case indicate “home” or “work”, the bot will ask that direction if you do not already have in your database.
  • Calendar : ask about plans on the agenda or add reminders ( When’s my flight? , Remind me to [reminder] , etc.).
  • Saving data : the command My [information] is [data] can make the bot small memorize information such as passwords or codes. For example: My mail password is 1234 (My mail password is 1234), for which we would ask What’s my mail password? (What is the password for my mail?).
  • Photos : We can ask to teach us photos on a subject (feature only available on Android, coming to iOS this fall) or send us pictures.
  • Subscriptions : schedule a shipment of information every day, for which we will use a Send me daily that can get out between the responses suggested by the action (for example, by asking the time).

Group chat (the bot will always be by default, except in chats incognito)

  • Generic questions, simple calculations and translations: the result of a match (Did the [team] win), that calculates us a percentage (What is 59% of 324) or even tell us what song is like another ( What songs are similar to [song]).
  • Entertainment : to teach us photographs, a trailer, a YouTube video (you can see inside) or play any of the games that integrates simple (with Play gameshows them all, but we can say the name of the game directly).
  • Navigation : nearby restaurants may ask with expressions like How about Indian (How about an Indian restaurant?) And showing search information there, addresses, etc.

So, requests take between one and two seconds to be answered, more or less as if we resort to the browser in the browser and as concerned. What we have seen here is that, besides having to spend some time over at the language school, the routes you create are not always adequate (or the most obvious for us) if asked to show us the route to the airport and not we specify city.

You may also like to read another article on YellowTube: Comparison of WhatsApp, Telegram, Hangouts, Skype and Facebook Messenger: What is the best from the PC?

Déjà vu in talks

While the main point of the app is the integration of a bot assistance in the talks, the fact is that the share of instant messaging is rather standard, saving some aspects that we will now see, the options are not much different to that we and other services. First we have to know that we need a phone number to activate it, since it uses the activation SMS.

A phone number that can only have one active account, or what is the same, a single session. That is, as with WhatsApp or Snapchat and unlike Facebook Messenger, when we try to log in with the same number automatically device cast us where we were, opening the new session.

Once the service is activated, we find the simplicity of Google stop interfaces and designs. As was the case with Duo, light interface invites little more than to engage in conversation with three main sections : the conversation window, the ratio of open chats and settings menus.

Here we begin will miss some options. While from Google we guarantee that all conversations are encrypted with technologies like TSL, and in the case of talks incognito itself have encryption end to end, there are rather few options to adjust aspects such as downloading means (not being able choose the type of network or file). It is short on options as well as notifications and can enable or disable vibration but not having the adjustment level we do see in Telegram timing silences or WhatsApp.

There is encrypted, but the important thing: there are stickers?

And as to the possibilities that we are in the chat itself, we can send messages with a slight customization enlarging or decreasing the font if you press and hold (moving up or down). In addition, Google comes with the lesson learned and already incorporates packs of stickers, which will have three series and can download other easily accessing a tent ( at the moment seem all free, this may be a way of monetization the future).

What we have to start the conversation is the standard chat interface, with the top to the messages and sending text box. It contains a “+” to the left of the writing box for shipping options (photos, stickers) and right microphone or submit button.We can send small voice messages, but if we go to users; bot moment we can only direct writing.

As recently incorporated WhatsApp, we can draw or write on the photos, but this is another feature that incorporates only time Android (coming to iOS this fall). We can also insert GIFs from the gallery, being integrated, without requiring out of the conversation to them.

As for the code ticks or checks, we are shipping (gray), the reception (blue) and reading (double-tick). In this regard we also have additional information in each message. If you click keeping on any of this a dropdown with options appears (among which we miss the “Edit message” These include “data”, which leads to the information when our messages have been read.