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Allo 5.0 rolling out w/ Chrome Custom Tabs, selfie-generated sticker packs on the way [APK Teardown]


With every Allo update has come features that almost no one is asking for, and the latest version of the app, 5.0, isn’t much exception. The new version is rolling out now on the Play Store with one major addition: Chrome Custom Tabs, for viewing web pages without leaving the app. But a quick teardown of the app we did shows that there are other — yep, you guessed it — sticker-related features right around the corner…

The most notable addition that you’ll notice right off the bat is Chrome Custom Tabs, which is just Google’s fancy name for their in-app web browser. You can click links within chats and quickly view them without leaving the app, and the pop up’s top bar will even adopt the custom color that correlates with the theme you’ve chosen for your session. You can also toggle a setting that lets you decide whether or not you want to use this new functionality.

As for something that might make you roll your eyes a little bit if you’ve ever used Allo, though, Google has also added reference to a forthcoming sticker feature deep in the code of the app. Some strings we found in our teardown reference the ability for you to take a selfie that will “automagically” generate a sticker pack based on your likeness.

There are also some strings that give us a little bit of an idea as to how this works. You’ll be able to tap a button that says “Generate stickers,” and — at least in this build — Google asks for feedback for the feature after you’ve made your custom stickers. You’ll be able to tell Google how well the stickers resemble you and help the company “improve the quality of [their] algorithm.”

This doesn’t seem to be public-facing quite yet, so we’re not sure what it looks like. But whenever that server-side switch gets flipped (or it goes public in the next version, perhaps), you’ll be glad to know that Google didn’t forget to once again add some “fun” feature that doesn’t make the messaging app much more compelling than it was before.

<string name=”face_capture_explanatory_text”>Take a selfie and we’ll automagically generate a sticker pack in your likeness. For best results, keep a neutral expression</string>

<string name=”face_capture_image_preview_content_description”>Image selected for sticker personalization</string>

<string name=”face_capture_preview_cancel_button_label”>Cancel</string>

<string name=”face_upload_wait_text_label”>Generating..</string>

This is the most notable set of new strings we found, but there’s more. We also found strings that suggest Google could be more openly welcoming beta testers for future versions of the app, and we found evidence that Google will be prompting users to review the app on the Play Store (that might actually be active already, but we haven’t seen it ourselves yet.

Here’s a look at Chrome Custom Tabs in action:

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Avatar for Stephen Hall Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.