Google Allo is a free messaging app from Google, designed for smartphones. It provides both emojis and stickers, SMS relays for contacts who aren't on Allo already, strong optional privacy. It integrates with your phone number rather than your Google account. Perhaps best of all, it's still growing!
Simplified for smartphones
The moment you open Google Allo, it'll become clear that this is not any ordinary foray by Google: though it bears some similarity to other Google services, your account is tied to your phone number. In fact, the app itself does not store a contacts list, but rather uses your own. If you contact someone who's not on Allo, whatever device they use, they'll get sent your message and an invitation to Allo besides. This kind of simplicity extends to the rest of Allo as well. Though it has many of the most important features, such as visual communication via emojis and stickers, and it has message logging and smart replies as well, it doesn't load up on too many features. Perhaps its most powerful is Google Assistant: you can access and speak to Google from within the app, or even invoke it in conversations with other people. This doesn't provide an entirely new capability, but like most things Allo does, it makes the actual messaging experience smoother.
Every cloud has a silver lining
A frequently talked-about subject when it comes to Google Allo is privacy. For the privacy-conscious, you can do worse than Allo, but you can also do better. The good: Allo provides a powerful, end-to-end encrypted Incognito Mode, and doesn't store any messages sent between users in it. The bad: by default, Google keeps everything you say outside of Incognito stored indefinitely. While this helps preserve your messages from future viewing, it is also a significant impediment to privacy. At least you can opt out, but Google's overall track record for privacy is not promising. Still, for most people it won't have a significant effect on what they do. In fact, it provides some benefits, as mentioned above. You'll never need to save important conversations on your own, and can go back and look at them often. It allows Google to further refine their word suggestions and autocorrect algorithms, making chatting a smoother experience. If privacy isn't a worry, then everything discussed in this section is just a bonus for you.
A messenger for your purposes
Overall, Google Allo has the makings of a perfect messaging app. It's backed by an industry giant that knows what it wants to do, and has already crammed an impressive number of features into a brand-new frame. Though there are some concerns that it'll go the way of Hangouts, there's not much need to worry about that while the service is new and improving. Rather, you should avoid Allo if you're security-conscious or need some of the features that other, more mature messengers have. Otherwise, Allo is a fine choice for any purpose, personal or business.