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‘Allo ‘Allo: Google’s got two new chat apps in the works

Google I/O 2016: Allo for messaging, Duo for video calling with a twist

Forget WhatsApp, FaceBook Messenger, iMessage and even Hangouts – Google’s got two new messaging apps on the way that’ll blow them all out of the water.

Allo and Duo took pride of place during Google’s I/O keynote, and with good reason. One’s got Google’s new smart voice assistant built in, and the other wants to completely change the way we think about video calling.

First up, Allo. It’s a chat app that lets you type 1-1 or group messages, send photos, and do pretty much everything you’re used to doing on your messaging app of choice right now. Only this one lets you whisper and shout, shrinking or boosting your font so you don’t need to mess about with bold, italics or endless punctuation to get your message across.

It’s the built-in Google assistant that makes all the difference, though. It can automatically suggest replies, based on what your chat friends are saying or sending – recognising dog breeds, for example. Basically, you’re getting a virtual wingman for those post-Tinder chats.

You can call on Google without having to leave the chat app, so you can look up restaurants, book tables, or send directions to your mates without missing out on the conversation.

It looks ace in action, but let’s be honest – we’re all using WhatsApp, aren’t we? That’s why we’re a lot more excited about Duo.

Video calling is just as easy as making a voice call, but most people just don’t bother. Duo wants to change that with Knock Knock – a live preview of the people calling you before you pick up, so you know what the call’s about before you answer it.

It sounds like a small tweak, but we’d be much more likely to hit that answer button if the person on the other end was sat on a beach, waving a wad of cash in front of their face, or showing off their newborn baby.

It’s still early days, so we’ll have to wait and see if Google can knock off the combined might of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, but we’re liking what we’ve seen so far.

Both apps should be arriving this summer on Android (of course) and iOS.