Google has launched Allo, bringing its artificial intelligence powered chat app to Android and iOS smartphones.
Google has launched Allo, bringing its artificial intelligence powered chat app, on Android and iOS smartphones.
Through the use of the Google Assistant, a smart virtual assistant powered by natural language recognition and machine learning akin to Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri, the Allo app can serve up suggested contextual replies in chat messages through a feature known as Smart Reply.
It can also answer direct questions posed to it by the user, with bespoke answers provided by Assistant based on the user’s preferences.
The more Assistant in Allo is used the smarter it becomes, with Google providing “suggestion chips” so that users have access to shortcut follow-up questions which over time help the Assistant understand the context of the user’s questions.
“Google Allo can help you make plans, find information, and express yourself more easily in chat. And the more you use it, the more it improves over time,” said Amit Fulay, group product manager at Google.
Rise of machine learning
It is highly likely that the next major release of Android will have Assistant baked into it, much like Cortana is a standard part of Windows 10 and Siri is found in all recent versions of iOS.
Having Assistant in Allo may go some way to encourage people to move away from other Internet-powered messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but given the dominance of those two apps on on mobile devices, Google may have its work cut out for it.
Equally, some people may find the idea of smart software snooping on their personal conversations a little creepy.
However, there is no doubt the more machine learning software and natural language processing will find its way into everyday apps, if for no other reason than for major companies to test their smart technology in real-world use cases.
With Microsoft having recently added five new chat bots to Skype and Cisco bringing in chat bot partners for its Spark collaborations, software is on the cusp of being a lot more talkative.