Today, there are dozens if not hundreds of messaging apps in the market. In fact, nowadays some “enthusiasts” may have more messaging apps in their phones than the actual number of friends and family they contact. So what exactly is Allo, and do we really need another messaging app? Well, Allo is yet another messaging app, but it has a few tricks up its sleeves. Allo is the realisation of Google’s big dream on how “smart” messaging apps should be. The new messaging application also has Google’s new Assistant (just like the one on the Pixel phones) and clearly, it is the smartest text messaging application you will find today. Other than the basic chatting features, here are some awesome tips and tricks you can try on Google Allo.
Search old conversations
There is a search bar at the top of Google Allo which is very handy to dig through old messages. To use it, just tap on the search bar at the top and type in a keyword or phrase and conversation results will appear automatically. Tap the result you were looking for and it will directly take you to the particular message with the keyword.
Make your life smarter
You can chat with the Google Assistant built inside Allo that acts as your very own personal assistant connected to your Google account. You can ask to create reminders, events, set an alarm, do some math, answer general questions etc. You can even set a specific nickname for yourself and it will remember it. For example, Google already knows your real name, still, you can tell your assistant to call you “Batman” and now it always remembers it and calls you by that name. It can also remember if you love cats and many other things. This AI learns more about you, your likes and dislikes, even your schedules. So the more one uses it, the more the assistant gets suited towards each user over time. You can also ask to tell you a joke, throw specific GIFs or even pull out particular videos from YouTube.
Whisper or Shout!
In order to do this, simply drag your send button up or down to increase or reduce the font size of your message.
Auto self-destruct your chats
You must all be familiar with the incognito/private mode (ctrl+shift+N) in Google Chrome. Similarly, Allo has an ‘incognito’ chatting mode. You can access this feature in the app by tapping the message icon on the bottom and start incognito chat. Just select the particular contact you want to chat with and you can have a private conversation which is end-to-end encrypted. With the new update, you can even have group incognito chat. The cool feature, however, is that you can also set a particular expiration timer for your chats. From five seconds all the way up to one week. This could be perfect when you want to discuss some personal private information.
Disconnect from Google
Google Allo automatically connects with the Google account on your device, but you can keep it disconnected. Although we don’t see a reason why anyone would want to do that, or maybe you just want the assistant to stay out of your life (account), you can simply do this by swiping left > Settings > Disconnect Google Account. Or you can also add another account tapping on Google Account.
You can also play single or multiplayer games on Allo. To start playing single-player games simply type “play games” in your Google Assistant and it will recommend you games to choose. Select any genre and it will provide you with a new list of games that you can select and play. To start playing multiplayer games with your mates, simply type “@google” and “play games” in the particular chat. The assistant will suggest you some multiplayer games that you can play together with your chat friend. Compete with your friends for rewards using leaderboards.
Draw on images
You can doodle on top of images or add custom text before sending them. Simply select the particular image you want to send by tapping on the “+” button on the message box where you will have five options – keypad, camera, images, stickers and google maps. You can go to the image section (or camera if you want to take a new one) and select the particular image you want to send. After selection, you will find an option where you can edit the image. You can draw on the image in different colours or even add a text to it.
This is sort of a hidden feature in the application that you can use to block unwanted contacts in your chat. You can only block someone in Allo once a chat has been started. There are different steps involved in how to do this in Android and iOS.
To block someone in Android, you need to tap and hold the particular chat of the contact you wish to block and you will get a pop-up menu. Select “Block’.
Similarly, in the iOS version of the app, open the chat of the particular contact you wish to block. Then, tap on the profile picture of the contact > View (Contact) profile. In the profile page, select the block option.
Google Allo has dozens of sticker packs that you can download from the app. To start using them, just tap on the “+” button from your message box and select the sticker you want to use. To download even more just tap on the add icon. From funny cartoon GIFs to cute bunnies or even the new movie “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them”, you’ll find them all. These sticker packs are specially handmade from different artists and they can really help brighten up your conversation. In addition to that, Allo also has a “Smart Smiley’ button in the app which can bring up a list of suggested emojis and stickers based on the context you type.
Backup your chats and media
With the new update, you can now backup all your chats and media to your Google Drive. This makes it much easier to seamlessly restore messages after resetting your phone or if you frequently change devices. The feature is currently only available to Android and it backs up the messages directly to your Google account.
This article was first published in December 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.