Google Allo, the new messaging and chat app, was initially launched as a messaging app pretty much with just bare bones.
But as promised by Google, the company is working on evolving the simple app with more user-friendly features. Google Allo has received its latest update to version 2.0 on the Android platform. The update arrives with a few much-awaited and user-requested features. Although Allo did not leave quite an impression as it was expected by Google, the introduction of these new features might probably attract a few new users to the application. The new update brings with it a multi-screen split-screen to Allo. Apart from multi-tasking, the latest update has also rolled out other important features like a GIF keyboard, alerts for Incognito keys, quick replies, app shortcuts, along with adding support for the landscape mode.
Google had first presented its Allo app as a simple chatting and messaging app for its users. The app had received quite a lot of criticism from renowned tech critics with regard to the user privacy that the app lacked. In fact, there were reports by Edward Snowden wherein he had requested the users not to use the Allo app as Google was recording every message that the user sent and the company would make it available to the police and law bodies upon requests.
The New Features
The long list of the new features that come with a change log includes App shortcuts, Landscape mode, multi-window support, Quick Reply, GIF keyboard, a11y mode and Incognito key alerts. There are the features which should have been unpacked when Allo got out of the box. However, it is better late than never.
The app shortcuts feature allows the users to start a conversation right from the home screen itself without having to open the app every time. The users will just have to tap and hold the icon on the home screen to start a conversation right there. As the name suggests, the split-screen multi-tasking feature offers support to open multiple windows for using Allo alongside another app, which will allow the users to multitask on devices running on Android Nougat. With the quick replies feature, the users can reply to the messages right from the Google Allo notification instead of opening the app to reply. The a11y mode is a new accessibility mode.
The update also brings a new set of fun and peppy chat themes that vary right from Pizza to Moon. There are almost 12 new themes namely the angles theme, Aztec, balloon-dark, balloon-light, clouds, doodles, moon, pizza, sorbet, sprinkles, watermelon, and worms themes.
There was a string which supposedly allows the user to quickly make a call to the Allo contacts via Duo, but the functionality in the app was not found.
Google Allo is a good option for users who still use phone numbers as the most identifiable way to reach out to people. With the new updated Allo version 2.0, the frequently used contacts will now appear in the Android sharing menu.
Allo comes with Google Assistant, a virtual assistant that is based on the artificial intelligence technology, where a bot can answer all the queries made by the user apart from assisting them. The chat app uses machine learning technology for its Smart Reply feature. Google has made it clear that it will be storing all the chat data of the users on its servers so that they can use the information to improvise and personalize the suggestions made by the bots and assistant in order to make using the Allo app easier.
Android Wear Allo App
This update also brings Android Wear support for the users who still wear the smartwatches. Just like the other messaging apps from Google, even the Android Wear Allo app allows the user to use voice for responding and also allows drawing of emojis.
The Co-Lead of the Allo project had revealed these new features through his Twitter account. The Android Wear Allo update was not announced officially.
All these updates are available for devices running on Android version 7.0. As it done with every other update, even this latest update is expected to be rolled out in phases to the users. The users can download the new updated Allo version 2.0 from the Google Play Store or from the APK Mirror link. There is no word yet about when a similar update should make its way to the iOS platform. Well, the world has to just wait and see if these features will now impart any interest in the users to use the Allo app, although it might take some time for the app to reach the user numbers of other established instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or even the very own messaging app from Google, Hangouts.