Google has rolled out new updates for its Allo messaging app, which includes the option of Smart Smileys, new chat themes, and an exclusive “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” sticker pack. Google Allo’s ‘Smart Smiley’ will let users find the right emoji or sticker to send based on the kind of conversation.
In order for Allo to suggest the smiley, users can just tap the ‘Smart Smiley button’ when sending a message, and the app will show the relevant emojis or stickers. For example, if you’re planning dinner with a friend, a user may see stickers or emojis around food when they tap on the button. The ‘Smart Smiley button’ is now part of bar where you type the message.
Google is also adding new themes including a variety of different colours and patterns like “watermelon” or “sorbet” for users to choose inside Allo. The app will also make it easier to download new sticker packs. For instance, users can now simply tap on any sticker that a friend shares in chat, and it will download directly from that particular sticker pack.
Google says the new features and experiences will begin rolling out starting today on iOS and Android. Smart Smiley will be available in English and Hinglish, and Google plans to add more languages later on.
Allo is the more consumer-oriented messaging app from Google, which is geared towards markets like India. Google Allo requires only a mobile number to sign up, and was launched to challenge the popularity of WhatsApp. The latter has over 160 million monthly active users in India alone. Allo also comes with Google’s Assistant, which lets users pull-in information around movies, restaurants etc inside a conversation.
Google Assistant is more conversational and interactive; it relies on machine learning to help users. According to Google, Assistant improves over time and learns from the user’s behaviour. Google Allo also gives auto-suggestions for messages, even for photos. However, Google’s Allo app has been criticised over privacy fears, and the fact that it is not end-to-end encrypted by default like WhatsApp.