Google's Allo, the chat app universally panned as underwhelming aside from the fact that it introduced Google Assistant to the masses, is still in the process of getting some features that many users think of as basic. An update that's rolling out now to some users in the Play Store is a prime example of this. With the newest update, Allo now fully supports the split screen feature found in newer versions of Android. Additionally, the app now boasts a quick reply feature that users can access from the notification area. Allo still lacks many of the more basic features found in most non-SMS chat clients, like a desktop version and comfortable cross-device use, but these new features are a step in the right direction.
The quick reply feature, also known as inline response, works in a pretty simple manner, quite similar to the quick reply functionality that was implemented in Hangouts not too long ago. A quick tap of the Reply button on a message notification that's expanded or dragged down will open up your keyboard, and you'll be entering text into a text field in the notification, unlike many other chat solutions whose quick replies pop up in front of on-screen content. This means that messages can be dismissed or replied to freely, and shooting off a quick reply won't interrupt whatever other app you happen to be using.
Speaking of using other apps, this update also brings Allo full support for the multi-app split screen function that Google has been toying with since Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and has finally, fully implemented in the newest version of Android. While users of custom ROMs could always simply use the app despite any incompatibilities, those who unlocked the feature on modified official firmwares and those who had not played around with their device's root file system in any way found, surprisingly, that Allo was not compatible with split screen upon launch, even though it debuted alongside the Pixel phones and Android 7.1 (Nougat). This update fixes that, and allows users to multitask while using Allo just like they would with Hangouts, Messenger, or any number of other such compatible apps. The update is aimed primarily at Nougat users.