It's hard to imagine writing about Allo without talking about stickers, and as the title suggests, this post isn't going to change that. Version 17 just started rolling out, but it looks to be basically the same on the surface. At least no significant changes have turned up for me. However, a teardown of the apk shows that there are even more sticker-related improvements on the horizon.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
No matter how hard the Allo team works, they'll never be able to produce sticker packs that please everybody. Fortunately, there are countless people around the Internet that can't wait to throw their artistic skills at the challenge. The latest Allo update includes text and layouts that suggest that it will soon branch out and accept so-called "web stickers."
<string name="ink_web_stickers_title">Web stickers</string>
<string name="ink_web_stickers_attribution">Image information</string>
<string name="ink_web_stickers_licensing">Check licensing rules before you share.</string>
<string name="ink_web_stickers_link"><u>LEARN MORE</u></string>
There isn't much in the way of useful information from the new strings, but it's enough to make the basic assertion about what this is. Half of the new lines actually have to do with advising users to check the licensing of images before sharing them, which leads to the obvious implication that the stickers don't come from Google, and therefore may have different copyrights and licensing terms depending on the source – you know, because people totally care about that sort of thing when they're chatting. /sarcasm
There's no indication if sticker packs can be imported from any site around the web or if they'll have to pass through a curation process at Google before they become available for download in the app. Either way, this will surely lead to an explosion in the number of sticker packs people have to choose from, and that may lead us into the next topic.
We're coming up on Allo's first birthday, and since it launched, roughly 80 official sticker packs have become available to users. Browsing the full list is starting to feel like a chore, and it's surely going to get worse as the selection continues to grow. New text and layouts show that the Allo team is already working on a solution that will place stickers into categories and even enable search for just what you want.
<string name="sticker_tab_categories_content_description">Sticker categories</string>
<string name="sticker_categories_search_box_hint">Search stickers</string>
<string name="sticker_attachment_back_content_description">Exit sticker search</string>
It's not actually clear if the categories are just for the official sticker packs or if they will also make web stickers easier to browse. That largely depends on whether Google will curate and sort submissions on their own. Beyond that, there's not much more to say about this. After all, we've all seen what it means to organize things into categories.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.