Google Allo, the recently launched messaging app from the eponymous search giant, has just received a notable update that introduces another “smart” feature along with a couple of enhancements aimed at adding more fun to chatting.
What's Google Allo?
Launched in September, Allo rivals the likes of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Apple’s iMessage with its set of features, a few of which work with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Send text and stickers
Google Allo lets you make emojis and text larger or smaller by dragging the send button up or down. It also lets you send from its collection of sticker packs, designed by independent artists specially for Allo.
Draw on photos
Another special feature that Google Allo offers to make chatting more fun is the set of tools that you can use to draw on photos before sending them.
Use Smart Reply
Allo’s key differentiator from most other messaging apps is that it’s backed by artificial intelligence. This enables it to offer features that are largely dependent on context and usage history. One such feature is Smart Reply, which suggests relevant responses that you can choose from to respond quickly to messages, like a simple “yes” in answer to “Are you on your way?” Smart Reply is also programmed to learn from your messaging style, so expect it to over time pick up whether you’re more likely to respond with “haha” than with a laughing emoji.
Let Google Assistant help
The artificial intelligence that powers Allo is at its most prominent in the app’s Google Assistant feature, which helps you make plans with friends and get relevant bits of information right within your conversations. You can chat one on one with Assistant to ask questions and get answers in private. But you can also type @google followed by your query to bring up Assistant while chatting with your friends. Checking movie showtimes, looking up the address of a restaurant, and sharing a YouTube video are just a few of the things you can get Assistant to help you out with in Allo.
What's new in Google Allo?
Now, Allo has been updated with more even more interesting features.
Foremost among this is another AI-powered feature called Smart Smiley, which lets you find the right emojis and stickers by automatically suggesting relevant ones in your chats. To take advantage of this feature, just tap the Smart Smiley button as you’re typing a message. You’ll then see contextual emojis and stickers based on what you’ve written, from which you can choose to complete your message. Smart Smiley also works even when you haven’t started typing — it offers suggestions based on the flow of your conversation so far.
In line with the theatrical release of the “Harry Potter” prequel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Allo offers a downloadable pack of stickers featuring Newt Scamander and other characters from the film, which you can send to your friends. If you see a “Fantastic Beasts” sticker or any other sticker from a pack you don’t have yet, you can just tap on that sticker to quickly download the corresponding pack.
Match your conversation to your mood or set the mood at the outset by setting a background theme for your chat. Just tap the profile icon at the upper right corner of the chat screen, tap “Chat details,” tap “Change this chat’s theme,” and swipe sideways until you find the right theme that suits your preferred style.
Get Google Allo
These old and new features are available in the new version of Google Allo, which is free to download from the App Store.