After the announcement of Duo and Allo, the newest in a long line of Google messaging apps, Google made it clear that Hangouts would be re-positioned for corporate use. Last month, a new 'Meet by Google Hangouts' app appeared on the iOS App Store, revealing that a major reworking for Hangouts was nearing completion. Now, Google has officially announced Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. Read More
Google announced Allo at Google I/O last year and people were strangely excited about it. Maybe this would finally be the Google chat app to rule them all. When it came out, Allo was lacking in... well, a lot of things. One of the most unsightly gaps in Allo's feature set was the lack of a web version. Google is working on that, and VP of communications products Nick Fox has given us an early glimpse at it. Read More
Google Assistant in Allo isn't quite as feature-packed as Assistant on other platforms, but it's still one of Allo's most compelling features. It can quickly perform a web search, tell a joke, set reminders, and more - all by just tagging it in the middle of conversations. Google has added a new trick to Assistant on Allo - it can share your personal data, if you grant it permission. Read More
Duo hasn't been the hit success that Google expected it to be, but that should only serve as motivation for engineers to make it better. The video-chatting app has just been updated to version 5.0, which not only fixes a few bugs, but also improves on the entire user experience. Read More
The Nucleus Anywhere Intercom is one of many modern takes on the classic intercom. Instead of wiring microphones and speakers through your walls, the Nucleus Anywhere uses your home's Wi-Fi network to connect all the rooms in your house to each other. Now you can get a two-pack for just $298 ($100 off the normal price) if you order it through Alexa. Read More
When I say "Synology," the first thing that comes to mind is personal servers, NAS, and lots of cool things you can keep stored on your own "cloud" to access anywhere and without trusting any company with your data. Now Synology is using its expertise in building personal servers and apps to introduce an instant messaging application.
In a world where privacy is a big concern and end-to-end encryption is more and more important, having your chat app run off your own server saves you the trouble of researching whom you can and can't trust with your data. It may not be ideal for communicating with everyone you know, but it's an interesting solution for the friends and family you trust, especially if you already have a Synology server. Read More
The YouTube Gaming app received an update yesterday, taking it to v1.7. Google has already posted the changelog and this release appears to be mostly about fixing up the chat experience. There are improvements to both the chat interface and the underlying code that drives it. There are supposed to be changes to better support Android 7.0 Nougat, although it's unclear what they are, and the typical assortment of bug fixes and performance improvements. Of course, with each new version comes a new easter egg. Read More
The burning question on everyone's mind when Allo was released - "can you send SMS?" The answer, as seemingly common with Google products, is "it's complicated." Allo-w me to explain the answer, and more of Allo's quirky behavior, below.
What happens when I send a text to someone without Allo?
When you tap a contact that has not yet registered for Google Allo, you are presented with the above message warning that you are sending messages through SMS. When you send a message, the recipient receives the following text from a random five-digit number (at least in my tests):
[Your full name] ([Your phone number]) added you on Google Allo to chat.