Google has today announced improvements to its Google Allo messaging app, which include an easier way to add a GIF to your messages, new animated emojis and a more prominent placing of the Google Assistant. Improvements which coincide with a greater availability on Android to Google Assistant. Google notes that these new features have started rolling out on Android today and as such, should come through to anyone who has the app installed, over the course of the next few days.
In terms of the first of these new features, GIFs, Google notes that Allo users can now simply tap the smiley icon in the chat bar and then swipe (left to right) to find the right GIF for the conversation. As GIFs have been available in Allo for some time, this is simply designed to speed up the time it takes to find and include the right GIF. This also follows on from the previously introduced @lucky feature, which offers Allo users the option to include a random GIF to a conversation. Today's announcement on the changes, also made light of @lucky for those who might have been unaware that it is already available. While in terms of the emojis, Google explains that Allo now offers the option to animate an emoji. Google notes this currently only works for 10 different emojis, but by holding down the "Send" button, the user can drag the emoji up to 'bring it to life'.
Last up is the change to the Google Assistant. This is not quite a change to the actual functionality of the feature, but a change to the speed at which you can introduce the Google Assistant to a given conversation. While previously users had to @google to activate Google Assistant, following today's update, the chat bar now comes with a Google Assistant icon. Tapping the icon will instantly bring the Google Assistant into play. So in short, the new update simply adds a Google Assistant shortcut to the chat bar. One which should make it quicker to make use of the added-value feature that comes with Allo, as well as drawing more attention to the fact that Allo does actually include the Google Assistant in the first place. Examples of all three improved features can be seen below.