WhatsApp has taken over the mobile messaging market, starting in 2009 and redefining texts send through the web and breaking frontiers. It was not the first, but it has become the most popular application on its genre. Facebook saw its potential and bought it in 2014 for 19 billion dollars.
With Google always competing with Facebook, they decided to fire back and just launched a new App to compete directly with WhatsApp. Allo is Google’s attempt to take over the instant messaging market. It began on September 21 for iOS and Android. Critics have been well received so far, but the real proof will be the end user conversion. It is too soon now to see a trend, and for now, we can just compare the technical features.
Both Google Allo and WhatsApp have full support for emoticons. They both use the standard set of emoticons with faces first and then some other icons. Where Allo took a step forward from WhatsApp is on its sticker support. You can send not just the traditional faces and icons, and that is a plus WhatsApp is not giving. That is why the Emoticon point goes to Hallo.
7. Predictive responses
An interesting feature for Allo is its capability to send pre-defined responses. It is a more advanced functionality than the one set for predictive writing on Android, guessing full answers depending on the given situation. It is capable of analyzing the text you are writing and even images to suggest a reply (or many). You can just tap to select the answer, and it will save you some time and touches to keep up with a conversation. As you chat more, Allo will be able to predict your responses better. WhatsApp has nothing like it, so it is a point for Allo.
As for encryption, we will call it a tie. Both Allo and WhatsApp encrypt messages before sending them, and there is no advantage on any side. There is a privacy feature on Allo, but we will talk about it on our next point.
5. Private Mode
Allo came with a new private mode. For those people who don’t want to forget to erase their conversations, it is very useful. You can configure your chat to be deleted without you taking further action. Another security feature is that you cannot take a screenshot when you are in this mode. Notifications will not be shown outside the application giving extra protection to protect your privacy. Allo is making the point for private conversations, and WhatsApp should keep up with great ideas like this one.
4. Virtual Assistant
Allo was released with a virtual assistant. It emulates Siri’s intelligence (the virtual assistant from Apple). You can chat with the Google Assistant, and ask him (or her?) anything you want to know. So far, the most users testing Allo liked Google Assistant. However, the App is not intended to be a virtual assistant, but to be an App to share messages. The virtual assistant point should go for Allo, but there is no reason for WhatsApp to catch up on this one. After all, we are talking about a messaging app.
3. Web Support
Recently, WhatsApp added a new feature to open a virtual client tied to your phone number to be used when you are on a computer. I was a terrific idea to keep up with conversations, especially at work when it’s easier to look at your computer’s screen instead of sticking to your cell phone. It Is reliable because it downloads your messaging session according to the scan of a security code that is different every time. You are only allowed to open an online session if you scan the code with the app on your phone. That means you cannot help us the web application without a telephone, and it prevents our WhatsApp account from hacking. The ability to take your conversations to your PC is for now only available in WhatsApp. Allo was not released with such feature, but users are already asking for it. For now, the point for Web Support goes for WhatsApp.
2. iPhone Ratings
The App Store of iOS until now has declared a tie. Both Allo and WhatsApp have been rated so far with 3.5 stars on the reviews. Where Allo is left behind is on iMessage-like functionalities. Most reviews are talking about wanting an App like iMessages to consolidate all conversations in one place. It is not like if it is needed on iPhone, but Android has a lack of it. Let’s hope future updates go for it shortly. That would also be a major differentiator from WhatsApp which doesn’t seem to have plans to support text messages.
1. Android Downloads and Ratings
So far, Allo has 5 million downloads with an overall rating of 4.2 stars, versus 1 billion downloads and a 4.4 stars rating. The most important thing is a win for WhatsApp for now. It took them more than five years to get there, and after only two months it is too soon to make it a definite win since Allo is just starting. However, it has no new functionality to offer to users, and WhatsApp is a consolidated App that has everyone engaged. Once Allo gets to 1 billion downloads (is only 5% its way there), then it would be a fair comparison on the rating. For now, let’s wait for real reasons to change conversations to Allo.