Google recently released two new communication apps onto the crowded messaging market and so far there has been a lot of hype about them. Google Allo is a messaging app that incorporates artificial intelligence and some of the features from its competitors (eg iMessage), while Google Duo is a straightforward video chat app.
The apps include a number of impressive features, and the Allo app integrates the new Google Assistant. The big question for real estate professionals, though, is whether they will be useful in communicating with clients or fellow team members.
Allo and Google Assistant
Allo has similar features to iMessage and Facebook Messenger. At first glance, it seems like just another messaging app — you’ll see the similar emojis and stickers as well as options to send text, video and audio. Where Allo breaks apart from the pack is in its use of machine learning. While iMessage automatically suggests the next word for your message based on a standard algorithm, Allo makes suggestions based on your own messages. The algorithm learns your conversation style and typical word choices and makes smart suggestions. As you use the app, you provide more and more conversational data to the algorithm, and it will, in theory, provide better and better suggestions.
The app can also read the content in photos your friends or clients send you and make suggestions accordingly. If a client sends a photo of a house they like, the app may suggest you reply with “beautiful,” but if a friend sends you a photo of a meal they made, the app may suggest you reply with “looks delicious” or “looks tasty” depending on the words you usually use.
The big difference between Allo and other apps is the new Google Assistant, which functions similar to Siri but is embedded in the app itself. Google Assistant keeps an eye on your conversation and may jump in with helpful suggestions. If a friend asks you where you want to go for dinner, Google Assistant can pop up and recommend nearby restaurants. This function could save you time when messaging if a client asks you about a neighbourhood. You might use the Google Assistant function to identify restaurants in the area of the client’s prospective home or parks that would be great to explore with his kids.
Video chatting With Duo
Duo is Google’s attempt to compete with FaceTime, ooVoo, Skype and the company’s own Google Hangouts. The first difference between Duo and Hangouts is that it’s based on phone numbers rather than Google accounts, possibly making it easier to interact with clients whose numbers you have. The biggest difference though, is that Duo is just a video calling app. On Hangouts, you can send messages and photos as well as make video and voice calls. Google Duo only does video calls, but it does do them very well. This may make the app useful for showing a property to a client while out and about but less useful for general communication.
The apps are not integrated, though, and Duo does not have any machine learning capabilities.
Are They Useful?
At the end of the day, the decision to use a new messaging app is driven more by popularity than features. Even if the app addresses all your messaging needs, if it requires your contacts to download a new app, you may be stuck with the tools you’ve been using. Allo can send some text messages to non-Allo users, but the function is limited. Duo only works with other Duo apps. If you work in a market with lots of tech-oriented clients, then both may be useful additions to your toolkit. If not, you’ll have to wait until more folks adopt these apps before you can integrate them into your work.
Image (c) Google