Android Police recently got their hands on a bunch of screenshots depicting a preview version of Google’s upcoming instant messaging app, Allo. Allo was announced at the Google I/O conference this year in May along with Google’s new simplified video calling app, Duo. The text messaging app is supposed to be complimentary of Google Duo and is an attempt by the tech giant to take on existing messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, and FaceTime. Google also seems to have combined and implemented several features of these existing apps with the hopes to create an able competition to sweep the market, though going by the preview version, it is not without its flaws.
However, the leaks put up by Android Police have succeeded in feeding the curiosity of the masses. The site has touched on several aspects of the upcoming app, covering both the fun sides (like the extensive sticker packs) and the more serious bits. We have compiled a bunch of these for your convenience.
Google Allo Voice Messaging Feature: Rita El Khoury writes in her detailed report that the voice calling bit in Google Allo looks almost exactly like Whatsapp. Whatsapp is one of the most used texting apps by the masses because of its simplicity and a neater handling of messaging than most of the other existing platforms. But Khoury writes that users may find Allo’s voice messaging platform to be a neater option.
Google Assistant on Allo: Google Allo will come integrated with Google Assistant, a Siri-like feature that talks back to you. You can have text conversations with Google Assistant within Allo, and it will talk back to you, much in this way.
Incognito Chats on Allo: The messages sent in this mode will be end-to-end-encrypted with unique identity keys set for each participant, though Google Assistant will not function in the Incognito mode. Another boost of this feature is the fact that you can set an expiration time for your messages (much like Snapchat).
Allo lets you search for chats within the app: The app will enable users to search for contacts and texts within conversations with sufficient speed and efficiency. The search has also been described as “extensive” by the writers on Android Police.
Allo is tied to your Google Account: We know that both Duo and Allo require a phone number to be activated, in the manner of Whatsapp. While this had been a matter of controversy among users who complained about its limitations, it appears that this may not be entirely the case. Users will need their phone number to sign into Allo and find people to connect with, but the app will still need to access their Google Account in order to personalise the information it provides. But this does not appear to be mandatory.
Allo allows you to delete messages from your chat history: This one functions exactly like Whatsapp, so if you’re a Whatsapp user, this will bring no surprises. The app allows you to delete messages from YOUR end of the chat history, and this will not affect the history on the other user’s chat window. The only exception is when you delete a text message that hasn’t been sent successfully from your end yet (a clock icon will be the signifier of an unsent text). Media files sent or received in a chat will be given the option to be deleted from your device altogether by deleting it from your chat.
Media sharing on Allo allows for GIFs and annotating images: Allo allows for a smooth GIF sharing experience. On top of that, it allows users to make changes to a static picture by annotating them. Users can choose between six different colours to draw on the image, or tap a button to add text. An “undo” button will allow them to revert back to the original in a single go. However, this option appears to be quite limited in scope.
Allo probably does not have a backup function: This one is a bit of a downer among all the other features. The folks at Android Police who have tested the preview version of Google Allo say that it does not seem to have a backup function. This means that every time you uninstall the app to reinstall it on the same device or move your SIM card to a new phone, you will not be given the option to restore your chat history like on Whatsapp. After a fresh round of installing, all you’ll be left with is a list of the groups you were part of and the Allo Media Folder with all associations to the specific chats they came from being lost.
A hell of a Sticker Pack: The app will come with three preinstalled sticker packs with the option to add more later, which can then be rearranged according to your preference under “My Stickers.” Many of these stickers are not for the faint of heart.
This is all the information that is available for the time being. May we remind you that all these are information received from testing out a preview version of Google Allo. Google may make significant tweaks to the app before it is made available to the public. Some aspects that have been pointed out, like the lack of a backup feature, may very likely be updated by the time it launches. The app is supposed to be surfacing sometime soon, so it looks like we may require a little more patience to actually find out what the final version will be like.