This includes not only the Amazon Echo, but smartphone "digital assistants" like Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana, which also respond to the spoken word.
"Where this gets really powerful," says Amit Fulay, the Google product manager who oversees Allo, "is when you can bring the assistant into group conversations."But Google's big idea goes farther than that.
With Allo, Google is moving down the same path as Facebook.
The company says it's partnering with Open Table, for instance, so that you can seamlessly make restaurant reservations via that Google bot, and it plans on tying into other businesses as time goes on.
As Google director of engineering Erik Kay describes it, the vision is to bring all sorts of online information and services directly into your online conversations.
Rather than bring all your friends into one app and then another and then another, he says, you can bring the apps to them, all via a Google-supplied layer of artificial intelligence.
Chatbots are all the rage among tech companies big and small.