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February 9, 2018

Android Messages update teardown reveals even more Allo-style functionality

by John_A

Google may soon introduce a web interface for Android Messages, the default texting app on most Android phones, adding the ability to send and respond to text messages right from your computer or laptop.

The feature was first spotted in a tear-down of an upcoming Android Messages update by Android Police, and it’s one of many Google may be porting over from its instant-messaging app, Allo. If you have never used Allo, it’s a chat app Google debuted in 2016 alongside a stand-alone video chat app, Duo.

Google has previously introduced some of Allo’s functionality to Android Messages before. Most recently, it brought the Smart Reply function to Android Messages for Google Fi users, so it’s not entirely beyond the pale to see more Allo features coming to the texting app, as the tear-down suggests.

The web interface will be similar to the web interface for Allo, which Google launched last year. According to Android Police, users will need to sign in and scan a QR code on the screen to sync texts between the phone app and the web app. Once paired with the phone, you’ll be able to send and receive messages from a PC, similar to Apple’s iMessage feature on MacOS.

Also included in the update is a variety of additions that seek to make your texting experience more similar to your instant-messaging experience. That’s all thanks to Rich Communication Services, which is a major improvement over SMS. RCS usually requires carrier implementation, but the code in the update suggests Google may be able to handle some functions, such as texting over Wi-Fi and data. The update could also add high-quality photo sharing, the ability to see who’s typing a message, improved group chats, and — most interestingly — the option to pay businesses, presumably using Google Pay.

The update hasn’t officially rolled out yet, and when it does, some of the aforementioned features may not yet be available. We can confirm web functionality is still not yet available — still, you can download the APK (Android Package) if you want to try the update before anyone else.

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