Google's smart messaging service Allo is finally available. The app differentiates itself from the plethora of messaging clients by integrating Google Assistant, which calls upon the company's vast machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to provide contextual information as and when you need it. Here's how you can get started with Allo.

How to install Allo

  1. Open the Play Store from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Search for Google Allo.
  3. Tap the three dots in the top right corner next to the search result.
  4. Tap Install.

    Install Allo

How to set up Allo

Allo is mobile-first, which means you'll have to set it up using your phone number.

  1. Give Allo access to your contacts, phone storage, and the ability to send and view SMS messages.
  2. Enter your phone number.
  3. Enter the verification code.

    How to configure Allo

  4. Take a picture, or choose one from the gallery.
  5. Add your name and hit Next.

    How to configure Allo

How to start a chat in Allo

As Allo is a mobile-first messaging service, it relies on your phone contacts. If your contact has Allo installed, you'll see their name at the top. Else, you can send an invite link for them to download and get started with Allo. Once your intended contact has Allo installed, it's a straightforward process to initiate a chat session.

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  1. Tap the Message action button (circular button with a message icon in the bottom right corner).
  2. Enter your contact's name in the search box, or scroll down to select the contact.
  3. Viola!

    How to start a chat in Allo

How to start an incognito chat in Allo

All chats in Allo are end-to-end-encrypted, but if you don't want Google to store a record of your conversation, then Incognito Mode is for you. You can set an expiration timer for the chat window, and once it elapses, the conversation is automatically deleted.

  1. Tap the Message action button.
  2. Select Start incognito chat.
  3. Start entering your contact's name or scroll down the list to find the contact.

    How to start an incognito chat in Allo

  4. Select the contact to begin an incognito chat.
  5. Tap the timer icon in the top right corner to set a chat expiration timer.
  6. Select the timer duration. You can set it for anything from 5 seconds to 1 week, or disable the feature.

    Incognito chat timer in Allo

How to start a group chat in Allo

  1. Tap the Message action button.
  2. Select Start group chat.
  3. Add participants to the group.

    Start group chat in Allo

  4. Add a name and avatar.
  5. Have fun asking the Google Assistant all sorts of weird things.

    Group chat in Allo

Your take

Did you start using Allo yet? What are you liking the most about the service? Share your thoughts in the comments below.