At the annual I/O developer conference in April 2016, Google previewed two new mobile apps: a one-to-one video calling app called Duo, which released in mid-August, and a messaging software called Allo, which surfaced on the App Store this morning as a free download.

It sports features commonly found in messaging apps and includes a built-in Assistant, Google’s conversational artificial intelligence helper, an Incognito mode and more.

While Google originally promised Allo would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form, the firm’s had a change of heart as Allo logs all chats by default.

Google Allo offers features like stickers, smart canned responses, the ability to change the size of your text in chats, a private-messaging mode, Google Assistant and more.


Here are a few highlights:

  • Smart Reply—Respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and suggests responses to text and photos, in your style.
  • Stickers—Say it all with the perfect sticker. Stickers in Google Allo are designed by independent artists and studios from around the world.
  • SHOUT or whisper—No more typing in ALL CAPS to get your point across. Say it louder or quieter by changing the size of your text with a quick swipe.
  • Incognito mode—Send messages with end-to-end encryption, use private notifications to help keep your chats more discreet, and control how long your messages stick around with expiring chats.


Assistant lets you do things like book a dinner reservation, look up sports scores, settle a bet, play a game and more. Akin to the features available in Google’s Gboard iPhone keyboard, the assistant integrates with Search, Maps, YouTube and Translate.

Just add @google to your group conversation or chat one-on-one with your Assistant.

Check out the Allo teaser video.

Google Assistant built into Allo is currently a preview version.

Over the months, Assistant will make its way into other Google products. By the way, Assistant is initially available in English, with more languages coming soon.

Google offers some examples how Assistant might be helpful in Allo:

  • Make plans with friends—You can easily move from discussing dinner with friends to making plans for the night, right in your chat. Just add the Assistant to your group chat and ask for movie times, local restaurants and more. You can also research travel destinations, flights and hotels together with friends.
  • Get answers—Get the latest info on everything from news, weather, traffic, sports, or your upcoming flights status. Ask the Assistant to send you daily updates on the information you care about.
  • Have some fun—Ask your Assistant to share that funny YouTube video or play games with friends right in your group chat — for instance you can compete to guess a movie title based on a series of emojis.

According to Russell Brandom of The Verge, Allo logs all chats by default and the records persist until you actively delete them, basically giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app.

Brandon explains:

According to Google, the change was made to improve the Allo assistant’s smart reply feature, which generates suggested responses to a given conversation. Like most machine learning systems, the smart replies work better with more data. As the Allo team tested those replies, they decided the performance boost from permanently stored messages was worth giving up privacy benefits of transient storage.

You can avoid the logging by using Allo’s Incognito mode, which enables end-to-end encryption and makes notifications more discreet. As mentioned, both Google Assistant and the Smart Reply feature are currently available in English only. Allo is available for both iOS and Android.

Grab Google Duo in the App Store at no charge.

  • Scott Curry

    Check your link at the end of the article 😉 It takes you to the Allo iTunes page, but says Duo…

  • Dead on arrival.

    • Jamessmooth

      My exact thought reading this.

      • Like why would you use a messaging app know that your chats are being logged?

      • nirmitlamed

        If you have facebook it shouldn’t bother you so much.

      • Arcendus

        Because I don’t do illegal shit, and I’m not a celebrity, so it makes no difference to me.

      • Alex Mayer

        I don’t see a reason not to use this app since over 1 BILLION people use Facebook.

    • Alex Mayer

      In your dreams. Only Criminal s like you woukd stay away. Figures!!!

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Yesterday I was having trouble with signing into the app. It said to enter in a verification code and when I did it said it was incorrect. Havent tried today yet. Anyone else have that issue?

  • 9C1

    Yeah…. No thanks.

  • Jack Wong

    So, does this replace the Hangout?

  • :D

    This is gonna flop

  • edwilk55

    “Do No Harm”… pu’leaaaase. SMH!

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    I love the UI already…

    • therealjjohnson

      Yeah, looks like iMessage.

  • nirmitlamed

    Google forgot to add Beta after the app name.
    For official version that came from big company that isn’t its first messaging app, this is very sad that this is the outcome. DOA!

  • Rowan09

    Google is the only company that could have so many flops, but yet not labeled as a “doomed” company like Apple is labeled constantly. Google plus was an epic fail, Glass failed, Hangouts failed, the modular phone they previewed never even made it to market, etc. They tell everyone about all their internal projects and usually they fail before release or right after release. iMessage on IOS 10 has basically all the features of Allo, plus more and it can’t compete with Facebook Messenger. This in my opinion is another failed attempted by Google, but time will tell.

    • John Smith

      The reason behind this is because Google lets the public know of all their ongoing projects, whether they’re finished or not. Apple, on the other hand, is very secretive, with very little information ever leaving their Campus. Apple’s had their fair share of failed projects, which is why you don’t hear that much anymore. Their original planned tablet from 2001, their iTunes phone, rumored car project which is now on pause. Google’s grown the tolerance as a company that tries new things, Apple’s set a reputation of a perfectionist company, which in effect set high standards.

      • Rowan09

        Yes a lot of Apple’s failed projects were not released, Google keep putting out failed products over and over again when their only interest is advertising not hardware. I understand but everyone tries new things in house, but when you let the world in on it you should at some point get blasted.

      • george

        Apple is failing so hard that they haven’t released a new product since the Apple watch which is an ugly ass watch.

      • Rowan09

        Lol. Failing? Who is winning?

      • george

        By shitting out the same product every year?

      • Rowan09

        I asked a question who is winning?

      • John Smith

        Charlie Sheen.

      • Rowan09

        You sir was right, before he announced he had HIV.

      • Arcendus

        Who knows? And more importantly who cares?

      • Rowan09

        Apparently George.

      • therealjjohnson

        Since the Apple watch…its been little over a year since the apple watch came out lol

      • george

        Yeah and how many years before that? B please.

      • therealjjohnson

        You’re the one that used that as an example, not me. I don’t even know why you’re talking about Apple releasing hardware when this is about another possible failed attempt by google at releasing software. Why are you even making this comparison?

      • Rowan09

        I’m waiting on an answer?

    • BoghosAvetikian

      didn’t Google Glass essentially become Android Wear?

      • Rowan09

        No. Google Glass I believe is still being worked on. The first version was a failure and personally I believe it’s for specialized fields not every consumer.

  • Alex-V

    Not in germany

  • 5723alex .

    Edward Snowden :

    What is #Allo? A Google app that records every message you ever send and makes it available to police upon request.

    Free for download today: Google Mail, Google Maps, and Google Surveillance. That’s #Allo. Don’t use Allo.

    • Christopher Carr

      Meh — Snowden would have us all live in a paranoid neckbeard OPSEC world: booting a non-persistent Tails distro installation off a thumb drive for all computing needs, and saving everything to a separate, quantum-resistant encrypted drive, to be stored up one’s arse when not in use; TOR and VPNs of course; communicating via One Time Pad chat apps, etc. 😉

      I kid Ed. Good guy. But most of us aren’t that important — I don’t care if Google stores my chats.

      And there’s always the end-to-end encrypted Incognito Mode … or Telegram or whatever, if you need it.

  • diggitydang

    Do they log chats in Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Whatsapp, and/or other messaging apps? Also, based on Snowden’s comments, does that mean I should cancel Gmail and Google Maps too? I know they track the places I’ve been and what I wrote in emails.

  • James G

    Hi, we’re Google, all your data are belong to us.

    • James G

      (and our Advertisers)