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Google announces app updates to Allo, Duo, and Photos

At its São Paulo event today, Google announced a slew of updates to its Duo, Allo, and Photos apps, including new calling capabilities, file transfers, and easier photo sharing.

Google Duo — initially released last August as a mobile app for video chatting — will also offer audio-only calls on Android and iOS. The new feature is now available in Brazil and will be arriving “around the world in the coming days,” according to Google. (Of course, you can also make video and audio calls on a range of other Google platforms, including Hangouts and Voice, which recently received a long-awaited upgrade.)

For those with extensive document-sharing needs, Google’s mobile messaging app Allo now allows Android users to share a variety of files (.pdf, .docs, .apk, .zip, and .mp3) with their contacts. Unlike the rollout of the Duo calling feature, the update to Allo is available today worldwide.

To prevent that inevitable frustration when trying to back up or share pictures with a spotty internet connection, Google Photos boasts two new features for Android and iOS that allow for easier backup and sharing on low connectivity. Photos will be automatically backed up “in a lightweight preview quality” on slow connections then replaced with higher-quality images when a faster Wi-Fi connection becomes available. A similar dynamic applies to sharing: you can first send photos and videos in low resolution for immediate viewing, and the pictures will eventually be updated in higher resolution once a better connection is found.

Per the press release, “never mind if you’re at the beach or hiking in the mountains,” you can still share photos instantly. For the less fortunate among us, this will probably come in handy when we’re stuck on a crowded subway underground.

Today’s announcements came alongside the news that Google Maps will soon allow users to share their real-time location with friends and family for up to three days.


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