While it's not clear if anyone still uses it—a poll from Droid Life suggests maybe not—Google
announced three new features for its messaging app Allo on Thursday. The app now includes GIF search, animated emoji and one-tap help from Google Assistant.
Google Assistant isn't exactly a new feature. Previously, users could access it by typing "@google" into the chat window. Now, there's a dedicated button for it.
While this may seem like a small change, it makes using Google Assistant frictionless and easier to discover.
Next, there's GIF search. This is practically required in messaging apps today, so it's about time Allo offered it. The feature also comes with a feature reminiscent of "I'm feeling lucky"—users can tap on a smart reply with the "lucky" icon or type "@lucky" followed by a phrase to share a randomly selected GIF with friends.
Google has also added animated emoji, a feature where you can select an emoji and use a version that moves. It's cute but only works with 10 emoji for now.
While Google continues to pack the app with features, it's still missing the biggest thing: people to message.
Allo launched without much fanfare last September, and it was met with lukewarm reviews. On Android, users have several other options from Google itself, like Hangouts and Android Messages, and iMessage continues to dominate on iOS.
While we don't know how many people actually
use the app every day, Allo has between 10 and 50 million downloads on Android, according to information on Google Play. (Android Messages has between 50 and 100 million.) Google is reportedly also working on a desktop version of Allo.
The update is rolling out to Android on Thursday and will be coming out to iOS soon.