Google’s messaging stack is completely messy, but it is trying to attract users by adding new functionalities to them. At an event in São Paulo, Google has debuted minor but significant updates to their standalone consumer-focused video calling app Duo and AI-powered messaging app Allo. These updates will first be made available in Brazil on both iOS and Android, with a wider international rollout in the coming days.
Starting off, Google’s Duo will no longer remain its standalone video calling application. The latest app will introduce an audio calling option for users in countries with spotty internet connections. This audio-only call option is aimed towards increasing Duo’s adoption rate in emerging markets, where the lack of strong or high-bandwidth connectivity is a prominent issue. This has been one of the most requested features and Google has finally come through.
Google Duo was already a bare-bones video calling app, launched by the tech giant at their annual Google I/O developer conference in May last year. It was minimalistic and provided you with just a video calling button at the center on the bottom, which provided access to contacts on the app. But, audio calling has been seamlessly integrated into Duo, which now requires you to swipe down on the app’s screen to access a video/audio calling toggle. Google further says that the audio calling is data efficient and work well on all connection speeds.
Further, the other consumer-focused messaging app Allo was also released at Google I/O last year. It has since bagged massive updates and comes packed with Google Assistant‘s smarts. It is, however, adding a significant feature — file sharing to the application at last. It has also been a much-needed option on the messaging app with quirky stickers and shouting features, going up against WhatsApp and Messenger.
Starting today, all Android users (yes, this feature isn’t restricted) will have the option to share documents and other files with formats — .pdf, .docs, .apk, .zip, and mp3 — within Allo chats. You just have to tap on the plus (+) icon on the left of the message box and select the clip icon to start sharing the necessary files. In addition, Google is rolling out a machine learning-powered smart smiley feature to help Allo users to pick emojis for their texts. It is currently going live only for Portuguese in Brazil, with a wider rollout expected soon.