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Google Allo could add multi-device support and Gmail contact chat very soon

Is Google finally ready to ditch Allo's phone number requirement? These datamined features suggest major changes are coming to the instant messenger app.

Published onDecember 4, 2017

Google Allo vs. iMessage

Out of all of Google’s many chat/messaging apps, Allo has always suffered from something of an identity crisis. Yet thanks to a number of updates this year, Allo has emerged from its weird Hangouts-meets-Google Assistant roots and become a genuine competitor to Facebook Messenger and iMessage.

But the instant messaging app has always been held back by one small caveat: you need a phone number to set it all up. This arbitrary requirement continues to hold Allo back in plenty of minor ways, but chiefly, it means users can only sign in on a single device at a time.

While Google managed to eventually bring Allo to web browsers, the need for a phone number forced the search giant to implement a QR code system via the mobile app. It’s not all that hard to set-up, but compared to Facebook or Apple’s alternatives it comes across as being unnecessarily convoluted.

The simple solution to all of this has always seemed somewhat obvious: let Allo users sign up via their Google account. It’s taken a while, but it seems that Google could be ready to do just that.

While there hasn’t been any official confirmation just yet, the folks over at 9to5Google datamined the latest build (version 24) and discovered a telling string for a potential future update. One line reads “Chat with Gmail contacts”, while another suggests users will soon be able to find their friends in Allo by inputting a “name, email, or phone number.”

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In addition, another string states that Allo users will “enjoy a seamless experience across Google services.” This tallies with an in-progress feature that contains the string “GaiaMultiDevice_ _enable_multi_device.”

9to5Google note that Gaia is traditionally used as a stand-in for Google accounts. Reading between the lines, these strings seem to suggest that Allo is broadening its scope dramatically when trying to reach your friends and family, and that multi-device support could be on the way very soon.

What do you think of these possible changes to Google Allo? Would you switch over to Allo if it became a fully web-based messaging app? Let us know in the comments.

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