Google Allo – A smart messaging app

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Coming a month after the launch of Duo, Google’s latest attempt at messaging is now available. The Google Assistant-infused Allo is rolling out on Android and iOS starting today with a full worldwide availability in the next few days.

Google “designed Allo to help you express yourself and keep the conversation going.” Besides stickers from independent artists, the app allows messages, including emoji, to be sent in small (Whisper) or large text (Shout). Users can simply slide up and down on the send button to determine the size. A built-in drawing tool allows you to doodle on images before sending them.

Like in Inbox, Allo can suggest context appropriate Smart Reply for both text and images. They appear just under the last received message and can include emoji. Over time, the replies improve through machine learning and mimic how you normally express yourself in conversations.

The Google Assistant — available as a preview — is the marquee feature of Allo and can be brought up directly in any thread by typing “@google.” It automatically suggest things like restaurant recommendations and bring up cards for both parties to browse. Additionally, there is an Assistant-specific thread that is essentially “Ok Google” with questions typed out and answers delivered through text.

Privacy and security-wise, there is an Incognito mode that encrypts chats end-to-end, uses discreet notifications, and has messages expire after a set time. Google notes that regular Allo chats are still encrypted.

Like Duo, Allo requires a phone number to register. The app is available on the iOS App Store and still rolling out on the Play Store.

via 9to5google

Capture and share VR photos with Cardboard Camera, now on iOS

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Whether you’re hiking on the Olympic Peninsula or attending your cousin’s wedding, go beyond the flat photo or selfie. With Cardboard Camera—now available on iOS as well as Android—you can capture 3D 360-degree virtual reality photos. Just like Google Cardboard, it works with the phone you already have with you.

VR photos taken with Cardboard Camera are three-dimensional panoramas that can transport you right back to the moment. Near things look near and far things look far. You can look around to explore the image in all directions, and even hear sound recorded while you took the photo to hear the moment exactly as it happened. To capture a VR photo, hold your phone vertically, tap record, then turn around as though you’re taking a panorama.

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Starting today, you can also share your VR photos with friends and family on both iPhone and Android devices. Select multiple photos to create a virtual photo album, tap the share icon, and Cardboard Camera will generate a link (like this) that can be emailed, messaged, or posted in apps and on the web. With a VR viewer like Google Cardboard, your friends can relive those moments as if they were there.

via Google