Tag Archive | "Google"

Google’s Preview Program now gives Google Home owners first dibs on upcoming updates

It is not unusual for companies to provide its users several features before the rest of us. One of the ways Google does this is through its Preview Program, which was first introduced for the Chromecast last year. Now, the search giant has expanded the program to include the Google Home.

As previously alluded to, the Preview Program gives folks early access to new features, but Google stresses that the program is not a beta – the updates they receive are the same as those the rest of us receive. Rather, people who sign up for the Preview Program are first in line for these updates and, as such, are encouraged to provide Google with feedback.

See also:
How to use Google Home with Chromecast

How to use Google Home with Chromecast

4 weeks ago

If you want to sign up for the Google Home’s Preview Program, here are the steps you need to take:

  1. From your phone or tablet, open the Google Home app
  2. In the upper right corner of the home screen, tap Devices to see your available Chromecast and Google Home devices
  3. Scroll to find the device card for the device you’d like to enroll in the Preview Program
  4. In the top right corner of the device card, tap the device card menu
  5. Tap Settings > Preview Program. If you don’t see Preview Program, we aren’t accepting new members at this time. Please continue to check back as opportunities become available.
  6. Choose whether to receive email notifications by moving the slider to the right or left. Note: We recommend allowing email notifications so you’ll know when new updates are pushed to your device.
  7. If you opt-in to email notifications, you’ll be asked to sign into your Google account if you haven’t already.
  8. Review the contents of that page, and tap Join Program.
  9. Review the contents of the page, then tap OK, GOT IT.

When we checked out the Google Home, we thought it showed plenty of promise that might be fulfilled with future software updates. This Preview Program is a chance for folks to possibly see that potential realized ahead of other folks while being able to help Google fix some kinks along the way.

Android Authority

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Google will no longer automatically populate search results as you type

Google will no longer automatically populate search results as you type because it just doesn’t work on mobile devices, and mobile devices are where most Google searches happen these days. Indeed, Instant Search is dead at last.

See also:
Google might bring auto-playing videos to search results

Google might bring auto-playing videos to search results

1 hour ago

Remember when Google first introduced what it calls Instant Search all the way back in 2010? The search giant claimed that it would save users millions of seconds per hour by giving them instant search results as they typed away. Some loved it, but others – including myself – hated it. Developed and rolled out under the guidance of Marissa Mayer, who was the company’s vice president of search and user experience then, Instant Search may have saved me a few seconds, but the lag it brought along ended up costing me even more time.

Instant Search was even worse on mobile devices: it was counterintuitive and inconvenient for the page to continuously update itself based on what was being typed on such a small screen – especially a few years ago when smartphone hardware was way inferior to regular computing devices. I remember I had to switch it off because the onscreen keyboard would freeze or lag too frequently.

Google says that the feature was removed to provide a better experience for mobile users and to make Google consistent across platforms.

Nowadays, of course, most Google searches actually happen on mobile devices, and that’s why the search giant has finally decided to get rid of its Instant Search feature. Speaking to Search Engine Land, a Google spokesperson said that the feature was removed to provide a better experience for mobile users and to make Google consistent across platforms:

We launched Google Instant back in 2010 with the goal to provide users with the information they need as quickly as possible, even as they typed their searches on desktop devices. Since then, many more of our searches happen on mobile, with very different input and interaction and screen constraints. With this in mind, we have decided to remove Google Instant, so we can focus on ways to make Search even faster and more fluid on all devices.

So there you have it – you no longer have to go into settings to turn off Instant Search. From now on, you can just type away, and Google will give you a few suggestions without automatically populating the search results.

Are you sad to see it go? Do you think Instant Search was useful? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Google looks to make Chrome OS much more touch-friendly than before

Traditional, non-touchscreen Chrome OS were very popular in the past, but partly due to the inclusion of Android app support, Google has slowly made its desktop operating system more touch-friendly over the years. That trend looks to continue with an updated look and feel that make Chrome OS more touch-friendly than before.

See also:

Would you use Google Assistant on your Chromebook?

2 weeks ago

Based on the video, which was first spotted by Engadget and uploaded by Chromium evangelist François Beaufort, the redesigned desktop takes cues from Android by having the app launcher window at the bottom of the screen when you click on the Apps button. By comparison, clicking on the Apps button will pop open a window in the current version of Chrome OS.

In the redesign, clicking on the Apps button also opens a search bar, which you can drag up to open the full app drawer. Alternatively, five “suggested apps” sit right below the search bar, so there is no need to open the app drawer if the app you want is there.

The best part about the redesign is you do not have to wait to play around with it – it is live on Chrome OS’ canary channel. Even so, the software is incredibly buggy, so unless you live on the bleeding edge, it might be best to wait until Google irons out all of the kinks.

What is promising about the update, though, is that Google looks to be interested in changing Chrome OS from an operating system designed around a keyboard and mouse to one that takes your fingers into account. It also means that manufacturers could eventually release new types of Chrome OS devices instead of the laptop/touchscreen hybrids that dominate the Chrome OS market today.

Android Authority

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Google Home gets multi-user support in the UK (Update: Canada too?)

Update, June 29: Users in Canada – including our own Brian Reigh – reported getting the multi-user feature on their Google Home units. There’s no official announcement yet, but it doesn’t hurt to check if you have it.

Original post, June 27: Google Home now supports multiple users in the UK. It allows up to six people to connect their accounts, giving them access to their own personal playlists, commute time, schedule and more.

To add multiple users to the device, you first have to have the latest version of the Google Home app installed on your device. Then just open it, find and select the “multi-user is available” card, and tap on “Link your account”.

Once that’s done, you’ll go through a process that will allow the Assistant to understand your voice by saying “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” two times each. These two phrases are then analyzed by a neural network that’s capable of detecting certain characteristics of a person’s voice. What this means is that from then on, every time you talk to Assistant on Google Home it will know that it’s you and not one of the other people who are also using the same device.

See also:

Google Home vs Amazon Echo vs Apple HomePod: features comparison

3 weeks ago

Support for multiple users is available for UK users starting from today. The feature has been available to those in the US for almost three months now, as Google has released it back in April.

The online search giant has to figure out a way to make the Google Home more appealing to users, based on the fact that it hasn’t been selling quite as well as Amazon’s Alexa-powered speakers. According to the research firm eMarketer, Echo and Echo Dot devices are expected to claim a 70.6 percent share of the US market in 2017, while Google Home will only grab 23.8 percent of the market.

Android Authority

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Google Phone 9.0 teardown reveals upcoming features – notification channels, picture messaging and more

A Google Phone update doesn’t usually offer too much to talk about. Last week’s version 9.0 rollout apparently had nothing for us to write about, but a teardown has uncovered a few gems within the code. There is evidence of at least a handful of new features present in this new update.

For starters, notification channels are a hot Android O topic, and Google looks to be getting its Phone app ready to take advantage of these. This new feature will allow applications to group notifications into categories. Sounds, vibrations and notification lights could then react differently to each.

See also:

Everything new in Android O: features and changes

March 22, 2017

Plenty of phones have the option to send a prewritten text message when one can’t answer a call, but what about the caller? It’s common to send a message to the recipient, letting him know what the call was about, or its level of urgency. There is code in this APK file regarding “post-call messages”, which would be just what their moniker entails. There aren’t many details on how this will be implemented, but it sure sounds like a helpful tool is in the works.

There is also some code in Google Phone 9.0 that hints at more convenient picture messaging. Here’s the thing: if you’ve ever wanted to quickly send an image during a call, you’d normally need to exit the phone app, open your messaging app of choice, then go about sending your photo. Google Phone 9.0 contains a few different notifications relating to picture messaging, including “Received a photo” and “Sent a photo”.

Lastly, there’s some code relating to dialer codes, too. Not familiar with dialer codes? The idea is that you can dial a series of characters to display information or perform certain actions. Now it seems like the Google Phone app will be able to take advantage of these.

Plenty of codes show up in the teardown, but we don’t know what they do just yet. And while some have been used in the past, we advise that you don’t test your luck. That is, unless you know what you are doing and realize using these could potentially damage your phone and/or void your warranty. Hit the source link to see the codes.

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Google rolling out high priority email notifications to some Inbox users

Some users of Google’s popular Inbox email client are getting a new, and much requested, feature to play with. They are reporting that a new option is available in the app’s settings, which allows Inbox to only send out notifications for incoming emails that are considered to be high priority.

See also:

Best email apps for Android

October 4, 2016

As first reported by Android Police, the setting for this new feature can be turned on or off by the user. What is not yet known is how Inbox will “know” which of your emails are considered to be high priority and which are not. Since this feature has just been spotted by a limited number of Inbox users, it’s more than possible that the high notification setting may not be quite ready for prime time.  It’s also not known if this is a true app update for download, or one that is available via a server-side update.

Hopefully Google will make an official announcement on this new Inbox feature, along with how it works, very soon. In the meantime, if you use Inbox a lot, have you personally spotted this new high notification setting? If so, do you think it will be a useful feature, depending on how well it identifies emails as being truly high priority? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Get it at Google Play

Android Authority

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Google releases Android Things Developer Preview 3

Google has released the third developer preview of Android Things, the company’s platform that offers APIs to developers to help them build smart devices.

Leveraging Android Things, developers can develop for Internet of Things and take advantage of regular updates, Google services, and most importantly, a secure platform. The Developer Preview 3 introduces a few enhancements to improve the features available to developers.

See also:

What is Android Things? – Gary explains

January 13, 2017

As of Developer Preview 3, Android Things now supports all Android Bluetooth APIs for android.bluetooth and android.bluetooth.le packages across all supported devices. The improvements mean that developers can leverage Bluetooth as if it were an Android smartphone enabling the full range of Bluetooth capabilities.

In addition, USB Host Support has been added to Android Things to provide the same functionality that has been part of Android since version 3.1. USB Host allows a regular user space application to communicate with USB devices without root privileges or support needed from the Linux kernel.

The introduction of these two features in Developer Preview 3 bridges the gap yet further towards integrating the functionality we all know and love in Android into Internet of Things. With IoT devices quickly finding a place in everyone’s home, it’s good to see Google help provide a standardized platform to develop on that will hopefully improve accessibility and interoperability.

To download images for Developer Preview 3, you can visit the Android Things download page and also join Google’s IoT Developers Community on Google+ to connect with others interested in Android Things.

Android Authority

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Why Google Hangouts is irreplaceable to me

Google is making some big changes to their messaging services. Android’s Messenger is now Android Messages. Hangouts is now Hangouts plus some chat and meet options. What ever happened to keeping things simple? Am I really in the minority in liking Hangouts just the way it is?

Just what is going on with Google Hangouts? Let’s explore, and then let me make something clear, Hangouts is irreplaceable for me, for now.

Google Hangouts – a brief history

Don’t worry, I don’t want to recall the entire Hangouts history either, let’s be brief. Hangouts began its life as a section of Google+ on the web, but let’s pick up with a different beginning, Google Hangouts for Android launched in May of 2013. In the big picture, the app has not really changed much since launch.

Not all features were in place from the beginning, but at this stage Hangouts mimics most of the web functionality. Users get one-to-one chat, group chat, audio calling and video calling with up to ten users. Make that up to twenty five users at work or in school, but you and I at home get ten.

Hangouts can also handle SMS messaging. Despite a rocky start with a troublesome interface that let down those hoping for an iMessage killer, Hangouts became the default messaging app on some phones, like my Nexus 5. Of course, Hangouts is not as integrated into Android these days.

On the technical side, Hangouts uses a proprietary protocol, which means you can’t plug it into an old-school XMPP messaging handler. If you don’t know what I just said, don’t worry, not to discredit the folks behind XMPP and supporting tools, but they’re a thing of the past, even if the tech is still valid. Sorry.

As a proprietary service, Google offered up an API to tie in, but, what is worrying people like me today, that API access is being discontinued in April of 2017. That’s a month from now. Should we be worried that Hangouts, as we know it today, is on the verge of shutting down as well? We don’t know, but we’re afraid of what the answer might be.

Why I need Hangouts

To use Google Hangouts, you must sign in with a Google Account. Simple enough, we’ve all got one of those, right? This is where the magic begins, Google syncs all of your Hangouts messages across all of your devices. Not to mention that it pulls your contact info from your Google Account, so you have all your people immediately at your finger tips.

Better than syncing across just your mobile devices, Hangouts syncs everywhere you go. Log in at hangouts.google.com, all your chats will be there. Use the Chat tool in Gmail on the web, that’s Hangouts as well.

You know how your messages go and disappear when you use Snapchat, or you have to sometimes copy and paste info from your other chat software into an email or over to Maps? You’ll still have some of that with Hangouts, but a lot less. Hangouts can display maps and more based on your location or addresses you enter into a chat, making it a one-click action to get to navigation and more.

The same one-click action will get you into web pages, phone calls and more. In short, Hangouts, at least for Android, is a less personal personal assistant, but only for a few things. These are perks, not requirements, and certainly not unique to Hangouts, though.

Unique to Hangouts is the one-stop shop of communication, and the ease with which users can get involved. This is what makes Hangouts priceless to me, I am never more than a click away from chat, audio and video calls with nearly anyone in my life.

Google Allo and Duo, announced at Google I/O 2016, appeared to be promising apps, but my people never bothered with them. It is not that they are bad services, it is that they didn’t make a difference. My parents have never heard of Duo, I can almost guarantee that, and since they use a smartphone as a feature phone and connect to the world via PC, Allo’s need to be set up with a mobile number will never happen.

Easy to use, cross platform services will win out over cool features in the end.

This exact concept is accurate for most of the people in my life, they either do not want to use their phone as a computing device for communication, or they don’t use Android. The idea of getting them onto WhatsApp or any of the other chat services is laughable as well, unless they can access exclusively from a PC.

The people in my life are a little bit different than the tech enthusiasts that build the top chat apps today, and this is exactly why I need Hangouts. This could also be a wake up call to many services: cross platform and easy to use services will win out over cool features in the end.

The fact that I can grab absolutely any computing device that I own and pick up an ongoing conversation is priceless. More importantly, as boring as Hangouts may seem to most users, I can connect with anyone that has ever used a Google service.

Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet

Google released Hangouts Meet, a business focused video conferencing app for Android that is extremely easy to use. Good on them for making a video conferencing tool dedicated to G Suite (Google Apps) business users. With Meet meetings tied into Calendar events, and one-click access to join a meeting, this could be huge if it ever leaves the education and work space.

I just used my G Suite to setup and host a Hangouts Meet video call. It worked fine within the organization, but when I used my normal Google Account to join the call it launched in regular Hangouts. Yes, I had Meet open on my screen, but Hangouts took the call. Sorry, why do I have Meet? What is it doing exactly? Particularly with a basic Google user account, Meet is certainly not meeting my expectations at this stage.

Now, actively communicating within Meet, I want to type something out, where do I do that? I head over to Hangouts Chat to, say, send a link to a project we’re video chatting about…. No, wait, Chat isn’t out yet, so I have to use Hangouts.

Google, what’s up with this?

Just as important, Duo and Allo never once crossed my mind in the active workflow. In the end, I spent 25 minutes today semi-unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to use Meet, Duo and Allo to do something that people do almost by accident on Hangouts, communicate without the tech getting in the way.

To be fair

I am not really giving Google time to play all their cards here, I know this. In fact, with the idea that Hangouts Chat has Slack in their headlights, I am very excited to see what comes of it. Slack is a fantastic communications tool, organizing one-to-one chat, group chat and audio calling into a single, cross-platform and fully syncing communications tool. Sound familiar?

Before we wrap things up, I should probably give some credit to Skype and Facebook Messenger. As far as being able to sit down to any computing device and communicate, they have a far reaching user base and decent platforms. Each only tick a portion of my ‘must have’ features, but they’re still good services. Is it fair to mention that I do not at all use Facebook? This article may have played out different if I did.

David Imel urged me to think analytically about this all, instead of just reacting with anger that Hangouts might be changing or even shutting down. He asked me to consider iMessage as well, which is a fair comparison to the SMS and text chat experience through Hangouts on Android. Wait, did I just say that iMessage offers just one half of the functionality, and only on a limited set of devices? Sorry David, iMessage may be a solid tool, but it just does not compare for me.

David was absolutely right about one thing, iMessage is super easy to get up and running. If you have an Apple account, iMessage just works and everything syncs across devices etc.

Wrap up

There are many great text chat tools out there. There are a good handful of solid video conferencing tools making the rounds and there are many wonderful audio chat apps and programs to choose from. There are even a few services that combine some or all of the above. We each have our own needs, desires and circles of people that prefer differing services as well.

The automatic sync between all devices, cross-platform support and storage of all messages into a log in Gmail may also not be for everyone. Google Hangouts offers a simplistic user experience, which is not uncommon, but with all of the capabilities built in, I’m not sure many other services can compare. Most importantly, I feel people spread themselves too thin if they attempt to use even just the most popular services on the daily, never mind all of the services.

It is entirely unfair to say that one communication tool rules them all, but for me, in my world, with my people, nothing comes close to the existing Google Hangouts.

If you had to choose just one communications app on your Android device, what would it be?

Update: SMS integration to be removed in May 2017

That’s it guys, Hangouts is falling apart. The ability to mindlessly respond to SMS messages from my PC will soon require a new tool. Not entirely, mind you, as Google Voice numbers will still work and I am one of the relatively few that also use Project Fi, so we’ll see how that plays out, perhaps all my Hangouts functionality will remain. Bottom line, however, most of us are out of luck, SMS is the first to go, hopefully that doesn’t kill Hangouts.

Starting March 27th, as the news goes, expect to see a message from Google on your Android device, it’s pretty simple, we are welcome to use another SMS app on our phones after May 22nd. Lucky us. Stay tuned for more on this, the news just broke, we have to figure out the details yet.

Android Authority

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Google Allo vs. iMessage: Which one does it best?

Google Allo vs. iMessage

Messaging apps are like fine wine – they get better with age. Or, at least in the case of the two we’re looking at here – Google Allo and iMessage – that seems to be the case. Similes aside, with the launch of Google Allo late last year, and with the most recent updates to iMessage in iOS 10, it’s hard not to draw clear commonalities and stark differences between the two and wonder which one is actually the superior app.

Yes, I know, this is Android Authority, and you don’t come here to read about Apple, but if Google has any hope of gaining market share in the world of interactive, rich messaging, they might have a thing or two to learn from Apple’s long-standing app. So, let’s take a quick look: Google Allo vs. iMessage.

User Interface

Let’s start by taking a look at the overall design, ease-of-use and fluidity of the apps. No matter what capabilities your app offers, I’m not inclined to use it unless it’s easy on the eyes, easy to figure out, and simply a joy to use. Fortunately, Google Allo and Apple’s iMessage both check off those boxes, but let’s take a look at some more of the specifics.


If you’ve used any of Google’s other apps like Hangouts or Inbox, you won’t find any surprises in Allo. You’ve got the standard hamburger menu where you’ll find your application and profile settings, and a floating action button to start a new conversation. Inside of conversations, you’ll find a very Nougat-esque design language, with the pill-shaped text bar that is a bit less harsh than the hard corners you’ll find in something like Google’s SMS app, Messenger. For a little added flair, you can change up the theme of your conversations for more fun background designs and message bubble colors. It’s a small feature, but goes a long way towards making the app more fun to use.


Given that iMessage has been around for so long at this point, there’s a good chance you’ll know what to expect when opening the app. Speaking of fluidity, there is no arguing that Apple goes above and beyond to create a uniform experience inside of their “stock” apps, and iMessage is no different. The brilliance of the iMessage application comes from its level of polish everywhere you look. Every animation, every menu, every button – you can tell that no detail was left unexplored to ensure that you get the best experience possible. The iMessage application embodies what users have come to expect of Apple, a reliable, well-thought, buttoned-up experience.


Google Allo vs. iMessage

Now let’s get to the fun stuff. At their core, both Google Allo and iMessage are simply messaging apps, but it’s their features, and lack thereof in some cases, that set them apart. Obviously, iMessage is an Apple exclusive, and Allo was designed with Android in mind, but let’s look beyond that.


When Allo was announced early in 2016, its primary draw was, of course, Google Assistant. Assistant, the evolved state of Google Now, is intertwined within the app, able to be accessed from within conversations to pull relevant information such as weather, locations, movie showtimes, etc. At first, it kind of seems gimmicky to be texting with a virtual assistant, but after a while of using the app, it’s actually pretty convenient to have Google ready when you need it during any conversation.

Google Assistant also exists as its own ‘contact’ in Allo, with which you can have standalone conversations. Here, you can basically query information like you would from the Google app, but your results will be returned in a more conversational manner. Assistant shines in this context by alerting you of reminders, sending you information like weather forecasts on a daily basis, and more. The conversational manner of Assistant also allows you to ask subsequent questions in context to get more information.

For example, you can ask Google “What’s tomorrow’s forecast?” and you will receive a nice visual representation of what you asked for. Then, you can immediately follow up with “What about this weekend?” Google will recognize that your second question is related to the first, and will return the additional information. Furthermore, Allo’s suggested responses that appear automatically above the keyboard make getting more information from Assistant incredibly easy to do with little input.


Let’s start with the basics – iMessage supports SMS. Sounds like a no-brainer, but given that Allo does not, it’s definitely worth noting. So yes, you can text anyone from iMessage, you just won’t be able to use some of its key features.

Apple’s iMessage is a solid messaging app, no question about it. However, it doesn’t really have one ‘main draw’ like that of Google Allo. But, the fact is, it doesn’t need one. Unlike Android devices, iPhone’s comes with an excellent messaging application out of the box. One that’s packed full of features, and usually is enough to keep users from seeking an alternative. Many of iMessage’s flagship features focus on making conversations with your peers more intimate (in the innocent sense of the word) and personal. For instance, if you want to send a message to your wife saying, “I love you!”, you can add an animated heart balloon that will begin its animation when she views the message.

Other examples of this include confetti that takes over the screen, party balloons that float up from the bottom of the screen, fireworks exploding in the background, a shooting star, and more. These message enhancements are taken a step further with actions such as Slam; powerful and large text bubbles, Whisper; smaller and gentle text bubbles, Invisible Ink; keeps text and photos hidden until tapped, and more.

One of the coolest features of iMessage is the ability to replace words in your message with emojis. So if you type “Want to grab pizza tonight?”, the word ‘pizza’ will be highlighted as yellow text, and upon touching the word, will be replaced with a pizza emoji. On top of that, the App Store specific to iMessage has a ton of applications that enhance the experience of the app by giving you access to more stickers, the ability to make payments and more.

It’s hard to name a clear winner in this category since the applications share the same basic messaging functionality, as well as some others, such as the ability to send photos and videos, audio clips, stickers (with additional packs available for download) and real-time location sharing. However, when it comes to sheer volume of the things you can do with the app, iMessage edges out Google Allo. It’s very clear how much time and attention Apple has put into its messaging application, and if taken full advantage of, iMessage is a really enjoyable communication application to use.

Backup and Privacy

Privacy isn’t something we think about all the time when it comes to texting back and forth with friends, but the truth is, any information that falls in the wrong hands can spell bad news. So, what do iMessage and Allo offer in the way of privacy? And, what are your backup options if you ever to need to restore your messages at a later time?


Do you remember all that fuss about Google Allo indefinitely storing your messages to improve the app? Even Edward Snowden joined the conversation. Well yeah, that’s a thing. Messages you send with Google are protected from online predators by being scrambled from the time you send them to the time they reach Google’s servers, and again from the servers to the recipient, but Google does keep normal messages sent from Allo for their special use. Doing so allows Google’s messaging app to create those handy quick reply suggestions, as well as power Google Assistant.

However, if you are concerned with your privacy, you can use Allo’s Incognito Chat to ensure your messages are encrypted end-to-end, so only you and the recipient can read the message. Incognito Chat also has a pretty cool self-destruct feature (called “expiration” in the app) that gives you the ability to have your messages disappear from your device, as well as the recipient’s, in a set amount of time. The amount of time can range anywhere from 5 seconds to 1 week.

Backing up messages in Allo is something that definitely needs some work to say the least. Many users (including myself) have complained that when switching to a new device, you lose all of of your previous messages, even after linking the same Google account and phone number.

Given that Google is storing your conversations for other reasons, you’d think they would at least let you sync your message between different devices, but unfortunately that’s not an option.


iMessage doesn’t have any real privacy settings, but that’s because Apple swears by its built-in privacy. Conversations in iMessage are encrypted end-to-end, and Apple says they will never store or scan messages for their own use – preventing them, or anyone else, from ever invading your privacy.

As you’ve likely heard about during recent events, Apple doesn’t create any “backdoors” with their products because that “undermines the protections” they’ve put in. The only two real privacy options you have with iMessage is the ability to choose how long your messages are stored; forever, a year or 30 days, and, how you would like your message previews to be displayed on the device.

When it comes to backing up your messages, there’s not much to worry about. There is a ton to complain about when talking about iCloud, but you can count on your iMessage conversations being backed up and accessible in multiple ways. If you get a new iPhone, iPad or Mac, you’ll immediately find your previous conversations right where you left them. As part of their privacy promise, however, you can opt to not have your messages stored at all if having them later is something you aren’t concerned with.

Major Complaints

Google Allo vs. iMessage

No app is without its flaws.


Oh, where to start. Don’t get me wrong, I like Allo. I really like it, but it has a long way to go before it will be what most people want it to be. To start, there is no SMS support. This is likely the biggest complaint among all users, because without true SMS support, Allo can’t replace your other messaging applications. Sure, you can send SMS messages to people who aren’t Allo users, but there’s a catch.

Instead of your message coming from you, the person you’re texting will get a message from a random 5-digit number. They’ll only know it’s you by seeing your name, followed by a colon, at the beginning of each message. On top of that, any Assistant-enabled functions you use in that conversation will come through as a vomit of links and special characters. I can promise this will come across as annoying to the recipient.

Allo also has no desktop client. So for those of us who sit in front of a computer for the majority of the day, this is a huge disappointment. Sure, you could use Hangouts, but what’s the point in using two different messaging apps when you could just use one? With iMessage, your messages are synced across your other devices, including macOS. So that might satisfy your need for a desktop client.

In my opinion, Allo is sort of facing an identity crisis, and Google is struggling to figure out where it fits in. Their long-running chat application, Hangouts, has a huge user-base given that it is built in to GMail, and the Android application has 1 BILLION+ installs (granted it comes pre-installed on many devices.)

Hangouts can be used as a default SMS application, but you also have Google Messenger which is a dedicated SMS app with 50,000,000+ installs. So, Google already has a dedicated chat app, and a dedicated SMS app, so that begs the question – why introduce something brand new instead of improving on what you already have? For me, I was expecting a full-fledged text messaging app that could replace what I currently use. But, what I got was a glorified chat app with some really cool baked-in goodies (i.e. Google Assistant).


I’m honestly having a hard time finding things to complain about for iMessage. For the most part, it’s a pretty polished app. But, like I said, no app is perfect. As an Android user and long-time fan, one of the reasons I don’t use an iPhone is because of the lack of customization. iMessage mimics that experience for me. There is no option to customize your conversations between different contacts with various colors, and you can’t change the background of your conversations, other than using screen effects mentioned earlier.

My other complaint with iMessage is the slight learning curve when trying to grow accustomed to the many features available. For instance, to access the text enhancement features – Slam, Whisper, Invisible Ink, etc – you have to force touch the send button. But to access the stickers, GIFs, and other apps, you look in the iMessage App Store menu. To send heartbeats, kiss effects, etc. – that’s another menu. And finally, if you want to send a handwritten message, you have to flip the phone horizontally to reveal the sketchpad.

Bottom line – there are just too many features in too many places. Until you’ve had considerable amount of time to play around, you might find yourself hunting for a certain feature.

Lastly, I mentioned how iMessage syncs across all of your Apple devices, but what if you don’t have a Mac? In this case, you’ll have no means of using iMessage from your computer. This is especially frustrating considering that almost all other iCloud applications are available to access and use at iCloud.com, including Notes, Reminders, Photos, Calendar, and more. So why, Apple? Why haven’t you made iMessage accessible with an online interface?


Google Allo vs. iMessage


So, how do we wrap this all up? Well, I’m not going to call a clear winner here because I like both apps for different reasons. Sure, if we’re talking sheer volume of features, and level of polish, iMessage takes the cake, but the truth is, I have just as much fun using Allo as I do iMessage. And for me, that’s really what it’s about.

For Google Allo, I think the problem lies in how it was launched, how it was positioned at launch, and what users thought they were going to get, but didn’t.

For Allo to pick up any steam, and gain more market share among the other messaging apps, Google needs to make this clear to consumers. Google Assistant is an excellent selling feature, but without being able to text other people not using the app, why would users adopt this vs. Google Messenger? And, with no desktop interface, why would anyone adopt Allo instead of Hangouts?

As for iMessage, it clearly has its place in Apple’s ecosystem. You have it on your phone, you have it on your iPad, you have it on your Mac. Your messages sync across devices, are backed up for when you get a new device, and there are ton of cool features to make sure you’re always having fun. But, iMessage is missing that one BIG THING to really sell it. Maybe if Apple could improve Siri (on a couple of different levels) and integrate it into iMessage, similar to that of Google Assistant in Allo, there would be more of draw to the application. Fortunately for Apple, they have a leg up with the app being installed on every device. No need for them to worry about consumers having to beg their friends to jump on the bandwagon. They’re already there.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Will Google Allo ever be the iMessage of the Android world? Are the features in Google Allo enough to keep you interested and to make you try to convince your friends to join you? Let us know in the comments below!

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Google Pixel XL International Giveaway!

Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone or tablet each and every Sunday!

A big congratulations to last week’s winner of the Google Pixel XL International Giveaway: Brandon B. (USA).

This week we are giving away another brand new Pixel XL Smartphone!

The Pixel XL features a vibrant 5.5-inch QuadHD AMOLED display alongside a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 3,450 mAh battery and an all-new 12MP Pixel XL camera with phase detection and laser autofocus. The standout feature is Google Assistant, a new incredibly-clever AI assistant that also powers Google Home. To see how the Pixel XL compares to flagships new and old, check out the Pixel XL vs Galaxy s7 edge and best Google Pixel XL cases!

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Google Pixel XL International Giveaway!

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