Gemini in Messages Reminds Me of the Good ’Ol Google Allo Days

Google Allo Google Gemini
In Short
  • Google Allo was a messaging app with built-in Google Assistant that debuted in late 2016.
  • Google's Gemini integration in Google Messages is more or less the same, except Gemini is much more powerful and brings AI features.
  • This makes me wonder if Google did the right thing by killing Allo in 2019, or else it would've evolved into a great platform.

Google Messages has been on a roll with improvements, and the upcoming integration of Gemini is particularly exciting. For the uninitiated, Gemini is Google’s generative AI assistant that’s being integrated into Android and across its suite. However, Gemini in Google Messages cannot help but remind me of Google Allo.

For those unaware, Google Allo was a messaging app that debuted in September 2016. Before Google Assistant’s system-wide introduction on Android, its preview first debuted on Google Allo. This made Allo an interesting messaging platform.

Google Allo
Image Courtesy: Google

Google Assistant came a long way while it was in Allo as Google added features where the Assistant would remember your inputs and converse accordingly. It was also what pushed smart replies to Android.

In typical Google fashion, the firm pulled the plug on Allo in 2019. And unsurprisingly, it didn’t bother users because there was no lack of messaging platforms at that time. Sure, Allo cannot compete with Gemini. This makes me wonder to which extent Google Assistant and the messaging platform would have grown if the app was still around. Heck, Gemini even features the same “Thumbs up, thumbs down” feedback reactions as Allo did.

Allo in action
Image Courtesy: Tech Crunch

With Gemini’s scheduled arrival in Google Messages, it feels like Google is coming full circle after Allo’s discontinuation. Some of the features of Gemini, besides generative AI content, are meant to make your lives easier thanks to extensions. Whereas Google Assistant in Allo also did the same but was independent.

As per the user AssembleDebug, who recently enabled Gemini by flipping on flags, the AI will work similarly to the Google app and on the web. Like these versions, Gemini in Messages will support extensions (Google Workspace, Maps, Flights, and more), making it easier for users to share something with their contacts on the fly.

Gemini Screenshots Google messages
Image Courtesy: AssembleDebug on Thespandroid

The user also asked code suggestions and it worked. However, it looks like it cannot process images right now. Besides, image generation seems to be working fine.

Now, I’m not sure why Google’s adding Gemini to Messages. Perhaps it’s to lure users to use more RCS. Or the company wants to expand it in other ways we’re not aware of. Either way, my Google Allo nostalgia still lives strong. I hope Google doesn’t butcher Gemini or Google Messages, or both.

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