Wow, so in the middle of the night (here on the East Coast of the US) Google decided to roll out their new messaging app Allo with built in AI, or Google Assistant. I have been playing iwth it for a few hours and here are my brief, but initial thoughts.
Setup is simple and straigtforward, just like setting up Duo described here.
There seems to be no indication of who is currently using Allo, but that may not be a big deal. If they are not and you send them a message, it will send them an SMS with your message and a link to install the app. That is pretty neat and seamless. If you must know who is using Allo, just start an incognito chat and only the people that are using Allo will show there.
The Google Assistant is pretty accurate and helpful, however it seems to me that it is no more than Google Now inside your chat application.
I will say, from a safety perspective, my favorite feature is the sending of recordings. Instead of translating your spoken word to text that you need to view and usually fix, the recording itself is sent to your recipients. That is huge from a driving perspective, no need to read or look when you are typing.
As I said, these are my quick first impressions after only using it with 2 other people. I would definitely be all in and switch messaging apps if I could use this on the desktop and accross devices.