Want to jump straight to the Allo desktop interface? Click here: https://allo.google.com/web
Currently, I use several apps to communicate with family, friends, business partners, leadership teams, etc.:
- Hangouts for SMS and Hangout IM’s (I am a Project Fi user so SMS still works in Hangouts… for now)
- Voxer for voice messages
- GroupMe for group text messages
- Allo for communication with my wife and a handful of others
- Facebook Messenger for those that don’t have my phone or email
- Inbox by Gmail for personal email (Gmail app for business email)
In this convoluted time of hundreds of messenger and SMS apps I am hoping to rid myself of at least 3 – Voxer, Hangouts, and GroupMe – once Allo has a desktop interface.
If you read my last post then you know about the crazy messaging world we live in today. If I haven’t said it before, I will say it again, I am a Google fan, and once Google gets something right it will be hard for me to stay away.
Google Allo and Duo are approaching their one-year mark, and a lot has changed for both over the last year. But the one thing that will make me fully dump three other apps for Allo just dropped.
You can find my launch-day reviews of each app here and here, respectively. But over the last year we have seen many features and upgrades added to these two apps that make them both stand out in their fields. While this won’t be a full feature list of Allo, I do want to touch on why I think Allo can replace these three apps (and apps like them) and give a breakdown of some bonus features Allo can do that these other apps cannot:
Text anyone in a group just like GroupMe
Allo has the ability to do group conversations. These conversations can be done whether or not everyone in the group wants to download and use the app. They will get an initial notification from Allo that [contact] has sent them a message via Allo and will offer a link to download, but, should they decline, they can continue to text back and forth with the person or group. (SMS cannot handle images, emoji’s, stickers, Google Assistant Cards, and other content so keep this in mind, they will be sent another link to download Allo when this content is shared by the Allo user).
Voice recordings practically live like Voxer
While Voxer has the almost instant walkie-talkie-like feeling, Allo has a feature very close to this, and, if you aren’t using Voxer for instant conversation but instead find yourself using it to relay audio because it is easier, Allo gets the job done. In any group or individual conversation you can hold the microphone button and record your message. As soon as you let go it sends it off, notifying the user. My wife and I will switch back and forth between texts over Allo to sending recordings depending on whether we are driving or dealing with kids.
You can still send SMS texts to your friends and family that don’t use Allo, sort of
Just like other apps like GroupMe, Allo will not send you a native SMS, but will tell you that your friend is using Allo, offer a link to download the app, and then proceed via SMS throughout the rest of the conversation. It won’t use your friends’ native phone number (just like GroupMe doesn’t) so that can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a chat with your non-Allo friends. (Granted, if they want to see anything beyond your 160 characters they will have to download the app.)
What else does Allo bring to the table?
Features Allo has that the other apps do not:
- The Google Assistant baked into every conversation to help you find the information you need and instantly share it with your friends. A collaborative tool to find movies, restaurants, play games, etc.
- Incognito mode with encrypted, self-timed expiring conversations for your secure messages (Hey wife, remind me of your SSN? What is the security code on our credit card? etc.)
- Smart Replies (like you see in the Gmail app and other Google apps)
- Make Duo calls with a button for Duo in every conversation
- Enlarge or shrink your text or emo
- Drawing over images you have taken to point out areas of interest (or just have fun).
- A future with Google money and Google innovation. (Voxer is independently owned, GroupMe is owned my Microsoft, and Hangouts is dead according to Google)
So why haven’t I made the jump until now? Desktop.
About 90% of my messaging conversations happen cross-platform. While I am on a computer I am using hangouts.google.com and group.me for my SMS and IM needs along with Facebook Messenger (and I am on a computer close to 10 hours a day, on average). The rest of the time I am continuing those conversations on my phone, switching to the audio platforms when driving or unable to text quickly.
With Allo this can all be in one app, and that is a big deal for me.
Now, like everything, this is not for everyone, but for those that want a straightforward way to do almost everything they can with 3 or more other apps… Well… Allo is the place for me.
What do you think about Allo having a desktop counterpart? Do you use other desktop apps like Group.me, Hangouts, Whatsapp or others? Why or why not? Let me know in comments below or hit me up on Facebook!