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Google Allo, Duo, Photos, and Search all receiving new updates today

Google is making minor updates to Allo, Duo, Photos, and Search today, bringing key features it thinks are most useful to those in mobile-first countries.
By
March 22, 2017

It’s been a huge week for Google. Just yesterday the company announced the developer preview for Android O, the newest version of its mobile operating system, and we’ve been hard at work digging through its contents to give you everything we’ve got to offer on the subject. Today, Google decided to keep the ball rolling in Brazil, where it announced a number of updates for Allo, Duo, and Photos. These are all pretty minor changes, so we’ve decided to keep it all to one post. Let us know if you see anything we missed.

Google Allo

With the new update for Google Allo, users can finally share documents and files like .pdf, .doc, .zip, .apk, and .mp3. This makes it easier for those using the app to use it as their one-stop-shop for messaging (assuming you know people who use it), as you can now perform searches, share images, and more all in one place. In addition, users in Brazil will finally get Smart Smiley in Portuguese, which will suggest relevant emoji, stickers, and more as you’re in the process of typing out your message. This was previously only available on the English side of things when it was first announced last November, so it’s good to see more languages finally getting support.

Google Duo

If you’re one of the few users still using Duo (they exist… I think?), you’re in for an interesting treat today as well. Now, you’ll be able to use the app in Audio-only mode, essentially turning the app into a VoIP. While this arguably removes the whole key feature of Duo called “Knock”, it can be useful for those that are in areas with poor cellular connections but do not have enough data to do a video call. This call still takes place over the internet of course, but Google is promising that this voice-only mode will work well on all connection speeds and will use up only small amounts of data. The update will be rolling out to users in Brazil first, and will make its way to other countries “in the coming days.”

Google Photos

Both the iOS and Android versions of Google Photos have been updated with low-connectivity backup. This is useful for if you need to share an image regardless of quality, as it can now upload a “lightweight preview quality” image even on 2G connection, then back up and replace these images with high resolution versions once your device connects to Wi-Fi. You can send these images to anyone you want as soon as the lightweight version is uploaded, so you’ll be able to send visual directions, landmarks, and more to your friends and family even when service is spotty. Look for the update today.

Google Search

When you search for a person, place, or thing, you’ll often get quick highlighted results showing you the answer to your exact question. But what if you want to see more content related to that noun? Usually, you would have to go on a relevant social network like Twitter or Google+ and search that term to find relevant gifs, shows, and more, but now Google is letting you do all of this within the app. Currently, Google is supporting museums, sports teams, sports leagues, and movies (in Brazil only), but we’re sure they will opt to expand this feature to more content in the near future.

While most of these updates seem pretty darn minor in their own right, it’s good to see the company addressing issues that it thinks are relevant to “mobile-first” countries, where smartphones are one of the primary uses of communication.

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