Google has two apps on the way that have been highly anticipated since the search giant announced them at its developer conference in May: Allo and Duo. Both apps should debut sometime this summer, and seeing as summer is now in full swing, rumors have begun to spread about some additional features and Google’s messaging strategy.
A Reddit user on the Android subreddit claiming to be an “experienced Google tester” says he has been testing Allo and Duo since before Google I/O when they were announced. LTNGNX says he is breaking his non-disclosure agreement by discussing the apps, but he isn’t offering proof via screenshots since “that’s actually how companies discover who’s leaking stuff they shouldn’t.”
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We are unable to verify LTNGNX’s claims and have reached out to Google. Still, it’s worth looking at what the user is saying about Allo and Duo. Take all the information below with a grain of salt — even if LTNGNX is a beta tester, it’s unclear how much the Redditor knows about Google’s plan or strategy unless the user is a Googler.
“[These] two apps are very important for Google and things will be done little by little mostly to avoid even more drama with the [European Union] and their shenanigans,” LTNGNX writes. “How do I know all this? I’m a third level beta tester, breaking an NDA and risking a lot trying to bring some facts and hopes to r/Android.”
LTNGNX claims that multiple versions of Allo are reportedly being tested by beta testers. Some testers may have Google Voice integration built into their version of Allo, while others may have different features. So if this information is true, the ultimate decision lies with Google as to which variant tests the most positively.
First off, LTNGNX says Allo and Duo will be default apps in Android Nougat and the “messenger app” will be gradually phased out. We assume he means the built-in messenger app with outdated UI that comes pre-installed still on some Android devices, and not Google Messenger, which is less than 2 years old. The two apps are directly competing with iMessage and FaceTime.
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LTNGNX claims that Allo will have SMS and Google Voice support, and “Allo will be associated to one device only, at least at first. It will be, eventually, expanded to web and more devices” — meaning Allo will be attached to only one phone number at launch, like WhatsApp. It seems as though based on LTNGNX’s claim, the lack of multi-device syncing is due to issues with Incognito Mode. Google Voice features, LTNGNX says, will come to Allo and Project Fi, but it may be a while. We may also see a web and Chrome OS version of Allo over time, and there is reportedly a tablet version being tested as well.
Users will be able to switch between Allo and Duo within the app to instantly video chat and vice versa, LTNGNX claims. Allo and Duo also may gradually roll out before Android 7.0 Nougat so that Google can get early feedback.
With Allo being such a high priority, what happens to Hangouts? LTNGNX says the video conferencing and messaging app will be “phased out little by little on mobile devices,” but it will still be around because it’s used by businesses.
We shouldn’t have to wait too long to see whether any of this information is true — the two apps will debut before summer ends in mid-September. We will update this post if we learn more, and when we hear back from Google. If you want to read more about the Google Assistant-powered Allo messaging app, you can read our post about it here. For more information about Duo, click here.