Despite mixed reviews, Google Allo has more than a million downloads in 3 days

allo for web
Google’s newest messaging app, Allo, has hit the top of the Play Store charts in its third day of existence with more than a million downloads.

The app has received mixed reviews, with many praising the smarts of the artificially intelligent Assistant, but slamming the decision to not include default end-to-end encryption, and also criticizing the lack of other messaging features such as a web client.

According to the Google Play Store, Allo has a 4.2 rating out of 5 for its current version, but still has managed to grab between a million and 5 million downloads. Duo managed to get more than 5 million downloads within a week — Allo’s performance isn’t doing too bad in comparison, but we’ll have to take another look next week to provide clearer results.

Over on iOS, Apple doesn’t show the number of app downloads, but Allo sits at number 15 on the top free apps chart on the App Store, just above WhatsApp. In Apple land, the app has a rating of 3.5 out of 5 for its current version.

Allo is an instant messaging app akin to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. You sign up with your number, but that means your conversations are only synced to your device — you can’t access them when downloading the app via tablet, and there’s also no web client yet so you’re limited to messaging on the mobile app.

The app only lets you message other Allo users, but an SMS relay lets you send a text to invite others to the service. In terms of messaging features, Allo is well designed, offering a selection of curated stickers, scribbling on photos, and other modes of expression including making your text larger and smaller.

But the real draw of Allo is Google Assistant, which is still in “Preview Edition.” It’s an artificially intelligent bot that lets you run Google searches, play games, set reminders, and more. It’s humanized, so you can have conversations with Assistant, and the more you use it the more its skills improve.

The Assistant also reads and stores all your messages — that helps it provide Smart Replies contextually tuned to what you’re likely to say. Smart Reply makes responding with short messages faster by eliminating the need to type. For example, Assistant can read images — if someone sends a picture of a dog, you’ll get Smart Reply options like, “aww,” “cute dog,” and more. The more you use Allo, the more you’ll get results that match what you’re likely to say.

While Smart Replies can be useful, storing message data has irked privacy-minded folks like Edward Snowden. Google initially said messages would be stored temporarily, but now has backtracked from that decision, according to The Verge, because storing messages offers Assistant more data to provide better Smart Replies.

That also means Allo is privy to requests from law enforcement, and Google will be forced to give user data up. A user will thus have to delete their conversations if so inclined, but the same could be said for apps like Facebook Messenger. Google did not respond to requests for comment.

Still, Google’s Allo offers an Incognito Chats mode that utilizes end-to-end encryption, meaning no one will be able to access the message other than the sender and receiver. The downside here is that Assistant will not be accessible in these chats. Facebook has implemented a similar feature, called Secret Conversations, in Messenger.

The Assistant in Allo is still in preview mode, and we’re expecting to see more features, like third-party integration, at Google’s Oct. 4 event. Google is unveiling a new phone, as well as various other “made by Google” hardware offerings, including Google Home.


You can now message businesses straight through Google Maps

Google has been updating Maps with a ton of new features over the past few months, and now it's back with another one -- the ability for users to message businesses directly through the Maps app.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.

Say goodbye to Cortana: An Alexa app is available on all Windows 10 PCs

Amazon revealed today that its Alexa app is now available as a download on all Windows 10 PCs running the April 2018 Update, allowing for all the conveniences of yet another digital assistant. 
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Social Media

Facebook is rolling out a Messenger ‘unsend’ feature, and here’s how to use it

Facebook is starting to roll out a "remove message" feature for its Messenger app. It lets you delete a message in a thread within 10 minutes of sending it, and replaces it with a note telling recipients that it's been removed.

Google rolls out Night Sight to Pixel 3 and 3 XL camera app

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

No cash. No talking. What goes next? Welcome to your ‘app-tive’ digital life

Bank of America's 2018 Trends in Consumer Mobility Report found mobility has changed our lives. Mobile tech influences how most of us communicate, meet people, build relationships, and handle money as we move toward a cashless society.

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.

Everything you need to know about Garmin’s GPS watches and trackers

Garmin jumped into the GPS smartwatch and fitness tracker market five years ago and has built a portfolio of devices that rivals competitor Fitbit. Here's your guide to the latest and greatest fitness devices that Garmin has to offer.

Sharp doubles down on the notch trend with Aquos R2 Compact

As if one notch wasn't enough, Japanese manufacturer Sharp unveiled a new smartphone that has two -- one teardrop style notch at the top, and a bigger notch at the bottom. Here's what the world's first dual-notch smartphone looks like.

Verizon has made its first 5G video call … with a phone that’s already out

Verizon has announced that it has successfully made its first video call, using a smartphone that's already available: The Motorola Moto Z3. To make the call, Verizon used the 5G Moto Mod.