Is Google’s Allo a Game Changer?

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

At the recent Google I/O 2016 conference, Google announced the release of Allo, a new messaging app that is designed to make the company more competitive in the crowded mobile messaging space.

As expected, Allo offers some interesting features. But it also has some serious shortcomings that will limit its usability for business users.

The Upside: Google Assistant

Not surprisingly, Allo contains many standard messaging app features. From sent and received indicators to emojis and other personalization tools, users gain access to the capabilities they have come to expect from today’s messaging technologies.

But Allo also gives users access to a conversational interface called Google Assistant. Designed to function as a chat bot (similar to NetSfere’s Net-C), Google Assistant uses the Knowledge Graph to allow users to ask questions and receive responses as well as additional search suggestions.

The Downside: Lack of Enterprise Security and Other Features

Google Assistant makes Allo a compelling option for consumers by integrating the power of Google with messaging. But it may not be enough to make Allo an appealing technology for most business users.

For starters, Allo’s default security doesn’t include end-to-end encryption, the gold standard in robust security for mobile messaging. Even though Google has indicated that users will be able to opt into end-to-end encryption, encryption may limit the functionality of Google Assistant.

Another significant downside of Allo is that it’s primarily intended for a consumer user base.

When we built NetSfere, we created a messaging platform that meets the unique needs and challenges of enterprise organizations. Why? Because based on my experience, enterprise users need messaging technology that has been designed specifically for the enterprise. Indeed, with NetSfere, we often customize the solution for the unique requirements of large enterprises.

Despite some confusion in the market regarding Google Hangouts versus Allow versus Gchat, it seems likely that Google intends to make Allo the default messaging app for Android, which will virtually guarantee its adoption by a large user base. But like all the other consumer-grade messaging apps, it's unlikely that Allo will offer the security, IT control and other features that are needed for the enterprise.

Want to learn more about Google’s messaging strategy? Take a look at my latest Wireless Week column, Can Google Find Success in Messaging Apps?, written during the ramp up to Google I/O 2016.

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