Forget single platform iMessage: Google releases Allo smart messaging app for Android and iOS

Most of the smartphone world is divided into Android and iOS users, with many iOS users sticking with the platform to continue using iMessage with family and friends. Google's offering a cross platform messaging app for all.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Image: Google

The predominant messaging app on iOS is iMessage, and its easy for Apple to focus on this single app. Google is a bit more confusing with Messenger, Hangouts, and now Allo. It looks like Allo will be the one to rule them all, as it integrates intelligence and works well across iOS and Android.

Google posted all the details on the Allo app announced at Google I/O just a few weeks after the release of the Duo video chat service. You can register for Allo and Google will be rolling it out in stages.

One of the reasons I keep going back to using an iPhone is to communicate more easily with my daughters who have iPhones. There are plenty of messaging alternatives, but iPhone owners use iMessage, and its tough to break them free. I found the APK for Allo, and after using it for a few minutes, it has the potential to be our family's cross platform messaging app of choice.

Google Allo includes the ability to reply quickly with smart replies. It starts by offering up suggested replies, and as you continue to use the app, it will adjust to fit your style of responses and improve the suggestions presented to you.

Your friends and family can interact with you via SMS -- even if they don't yet have Allo. I tested this with my wife tonight and it worked well.

In addition to text messages, Allo supports sending resized text, emojis, photos, and sketches. These functions look similar to the new iOS 10 iMessage app, but remember Allo works across Android and iOS.

After downloading and installing Allo, you will also find a preview version of the Google Assistant is present. The Google Assistant takes the power of Google Now and Google Search and brings in a personal touch where you can interact with Google Assistant as it offers suggestions in chats, answers questions you may have about anything, and works to serve as your personal assistant.

Google states that all chats in Google Allo are encrypted using industry standard technologies. Allo also supports Incognito mode so that messages have end-to-end encryption and additional privacy features.

Editorial standards