We have yet another instant messenger (IM) app—the Google Allo. But this comes with one big difference: the new Google Assistant. This is a virtual assistant equipped with machine learning and artificial intelligence, and it improves as you use it.
Google Assistant is a response to Apple’s Siri, and an upgrade to the existing Google Now. And it adopts a conversational avatar. You can initiate a two-way conversation with Assistant, either within an existing chat window, or in a separate conversation. Within a chat, you can invoke Assistant for any extra information. For example, you and a friend are discussing José Mourinho’s record during his time at the Chelsea football club. Just type “@Google What was Jose Mourinho’s record as Chelsea manager”—and you will have all the information at your fingertips. Arguing about the power of the new Maserati Ghibli? Assistant will provide you the answer. Be it marking an entry in your calendar, setting an alarm, showing a list of restaurants or getting information about the weather, the possibility of questions and answers remains endless with Google Assistant.
What we are yet to see, however, is how proactively Assistant can integrate itself into existing conversations and offer suggestions.
Smart replies, based on machine learning, are the next big thing. For any message you receive, the algorithms try to understand the context and suggest answers or follow-up questions. The more we used Allo, the more we noticed that the quality of suggested responses improved significantly. Also, Allo is better able to understand the context of any photo or image shared because of all the smart algorithms working in the background. The fact that Google is linking Allo to your Google account means that it will be able to build your profile based on how you use Gmail, YouTube, etc., and offer precise suggestions based on your browsing history.
At the moment, Google Assistant is confined to one-chat app, but it’s likely to spread its wings in the future. It only seems logical that the bot will be integrated into Google’s operating system and Android phones eventually.