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[Update: APK Download] You can initiate a Duo call from Allo starting today

Today Google is launching a new version of Allo that will allow you to start calls in Duo straight from the app. Both Nick Fox, VP of Communications Products, and Amit Fulay, head of product for Allo and Duo, have made tweets today about the new update. Integration between the two services has been a long-time coming.

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Duo v12 enables auto-hiding controls, hints at low-bandwidth audio mode and a couple logical notifications [APK Teardown + Download]

Duo remains one of Google's most minimal apps, so it feels like even small changes were carefully considered before earning a place in an update. The latest version of Duo is rolling out now with one such tweak that allows the on-screen controls to disappear when they're not in use. A teardown also reveals plans to make audio calls even more resilient on low-bandwidth connections and to add a couple of notifications that might give users more reasons to open the app more often.

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Duo v11 adds support for Android O's Picture-in-Picture mode and prepares to show your call history [APK Download + Teardown]

There's a new version of Duo rolling out and this one might be a bit more interesting to those of us running the Android O Developer Preview. With this release, you can push the app into Picture-in-Picture mode, freeing your screen up for other activities. A teardown also shows that users will soon be able to check out Duo calling history, although, probably not through Duo itself.

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Google Duo is finally getting an audio-only call option, rolling out first in Brazil [APK Download]

At Google's event in Brazil today, the search giant made several announcements related to some of its products. One of those was that Duo is getting an audio-only call option, finally. It's been a long time coming, but at least it's here.

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Google Allo drops off the top 500 apps chart on the Play Store

Take a look at the Play Store's top free apps chart today, January 31st, and you'll notice that Google Allo does not appear on said chart in the top 500 listings (technically, top 540 - I'm not sure when they grew the list, but yeah). It seems that Allo, based on App Annie's historical data, has actually fallen out of the top 500 several times in recent weeks, but this is the first incidence we've noticed.

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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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Google Allo hit 5 million downloads in 5 days - two months later, its momentum seems utterly stalled

On September 28th, almost two months ago to the day, Allo co-lead Justin Uberti announced the app had achieved a staggering five-million downloads in just five days since its launch. It was impressive, though not exactly unexpected for a major Google app debut. Now, once at the top of the Play Store's app rankings, Allo sits below position #200, and shows few signs of momentum.

The app's download count remains at the 5,000,000-10,000,000 milestone it achieved back at the end of September, meaning that in over sixty days Allo has not managed to achieve again what it did in the first five it was available.

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Google is demoting Hangouts to "optional" in the Google Apps package for Android, to be replaced by Duo

In an email sent to Google Mobile Services partners on October 5th, Google outlined a significant change to the core GMS package (AKA gapps) for telephony-enabled Android devices (basically, smartphones). As of December 1st, Google will no longer require Hangouts to be bundled with new hardware. An excerpt of that email follows.

Today, we are announcing that Google Duo will replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps, and Hangouts will become GMS Optional for telephony products. This change will take effect on December 1, 2016.

This does not mean Hangouts, or Hangouts for Android, is dead. It does mean that manufacturers may opt to stop including it on smartphones released in 2017, so you'd have to download it from the Play Store after initial setup.

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Google Allo hits 5 million downloads in the Play Store, is #8 in Top Charts

Google Allo, the second of Google's two new messaging apps, has just hit five million downloads in the Google Play Store. All the anticipation for Allo (let's forget about the subsequent letdown for now) has made its download numbers soar. However, the aforementioned letdown is quite apparent in its current ranking in the Play Store; while Allo sat at #1 in Top Charts just five days ago, it's since fallen to #8.

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Allo hits #1 in the Top Free Apps chart, but for how long?

Allo was finally released earlier this week, much to my own excitement. Google's latest messaging app seems pretty appealing in some regards and I am always willing to try something new. Thus far, I am enjoying it.

It seems that I am not alone. Allo is listed as number one in the Top Free Apps chart in the Play Store. That means it is beating Facebook/Messenger, Snapchat, and Instagram. It is mirroring its cousin, Duo, which also reached number one in the Top Free chart shortly after its release just over a month ago.

From this vantage, it is pretty easy to draw parallels between the two apps — both were announced together as Google's new messaging solution.

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