Google I/O 2016: Search giant unveils Allo and Duo messaging apps

Allo is a smart chat app, while Duo is a video calling service

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The Independent Tech

Google has unveiled two new communication apps at its I/O developer conference.

The apps are named Allo and Duo, and they want to change the way you communicate with your friends.

Allo is basically a smarter version of WhatsApp. You can communicate with individual friends, or create group chats for wider networks.

The first thing mentioned about Allo is its 'Whisper/Shout' interface. By dragging up and down on your message before you send it you can change its size, expressing enthusiasm by making it big, or shyness by making it small.

More interesting, however, is the machine learning features it has built-in.

'Smart Reply' scans message you have been sent, and suggests a good reply. For example, if a friend texts you to ask if you're still coming to the pub, it might suggest either 'See you soon!' or 'I can't make it'. You'll then be able to send the message in a single tap.

Allo can recognise what's in pictures and suggest replies

Allo also uses artificial intelligence to scan pictures. If you get sent a picture of a cute dog, the app will understand what's in the picture, and suggest a reply like 'He's adorable!'

It also integrates with a Google Search and Maps, so if someone talks about wanting pizza, the app might recommend Italian restaurants nearby.

Google says this makes chatting easier, since you don't have to pay too much attention or switch between multiple apps to get what you want.

The second app is called Duo. It's a video calling app, which Google says is fully encrypted and optimised for connections of all speeds.

Duo will show you who's video calling you before you even answer

Duo's most interesting (or dangerous) feature is called 'Knock Knock' - basically, it shows you a video of the person on the other end before you even pick up. If you see your friends laughing and waving, you might want to answer. If you see your angry boss, you might not.

Both Allo and Duo will be available "this summer" for Android and iOS.

You can follow the latest updates from the I/O conference on The Independent's liveblog