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Messaging app imo passes 500 million downloads

The instant messaging app imo has crossed the threshold of a half-billion Play Store installs, and there's a pretty good chance you've never heard of it.

imo was launched by former Googlers way back in 2010, and its claim to fame was offering an instant messaging platform that gathered all of your other messaging accounts in one place. That included AIM (RIP), Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, and yes, even MySpace.

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You can now message your Uber driver using the new in-app chat feature

Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch. Or maybe you want to let your driver know a specific detail about your location ahead of their arrival. There exists the option to use each other's phone numbers for a text or call, but this will come up as an unknown number for either recipient and could go unanswered. The obvious solution to this problem has finally arrived, as Uber has developed an in-app messaging service.

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Spotify adds Group Playlist functionality to Facebook Messenger

Spotify has had a Facebook Messenger extension for over a year, but today it's getting a new feature. When you're chatting with friends, you can create a Group Playlist inside Messenger. Then, everyone can collaborate to build it up without leaving the chat. I'm sure that won't result in any arguments.

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[Update: APK Download] Chat backups, link previews, and group incognito are coming to Google Allo today

Allo might not be a true replacement for those that used Hangouts until it has web or desktop clients, but development on Google's latest messaging solution still continues apace. Amit Fulay, the Head of Product at Google for Allo and Duo, tweeted earlier this morning that some new features were rolling out today. The update isn't out at the time of writing, but he claims it will include the ability to back up and restore chats, add incognito mode to group chats, and introduce link previews.

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Google officially splits Hangouts into 'Meet' and 'Chat,' new apps and @meet chat bot coming soon

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.

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Google's VP of communications products teases an early image of Allo on the web

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.

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Google Assistant in Allo can now share personal data in chat, if you allow it

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.

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Google Duo gets updated to 5.0, brings "major" video quality improvements and some other fixes [APK Download]

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.

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[Deal Alert] Nucleus Anywhere Intercom two-pack is $298 ($100 off) with Alexa

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.

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Synology Chat is an instant messaging application that runs off your private server

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.

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