Google Allo is one of the two apps Google Inc. launched last year to replace the failing Hangouts in mobile communication realm.
Allo is an intuitive smart instant mobile messaging app while the sister-Google Duo-takes care of video conferencing.
Allo attracted unmatched hype within the first few weeks of release, an excitement which saw the service rise to the top of Google Play Store as the most downloaded app. Things, however, cooled with time, regrettably the app has not been able to knock down WhatsApp from the summit of instant mobile messaging popularity chart. Inability to offer all-in one communication hub cited as the key reason to why the hysteria behind the app has since died-Allo lacks the in-demand video calling ability which has been delegated to Duo.
While it is true that Google Allo is not among the top three popular mobile messaging apps, there is one thing it offers the best: smart technology. The computational ability of the Google app is second to none. Allo is the first instant messaging service to feature Google’s digital helper, Google Assistant, which learns your chatting patterns overtime and generates automatic responses in the shape of Smart Replies along with other handy suggestions in everyday life.
Today, Allo is moving one step ahead of its competitors with a feature that converts selfies to emojis and stickers. The world today is selfie run. People take photos of themselves almost everywhere, true reflection in social media that sees roaring number of self-taken images daily. No wonder mobile phone manufacturers change of tact in allocating rear and front cameras. Now, unlike in the past where the best specs were preserved for the back shooters, OEMS are treating the front units with the same specs if not better ones.
In the same way, use of emojis and stickers has become a loved way of expressing feelings without unnecessary wordiness. How about getting a sticker that resembles your recently taken snap to express how you feel. Look no further, Google is currently pushing a smart feature to Allo that makes customized avatars out of your selfies.
Nintendo’s Miis and Snapchat’s Bitmoji are some of the customized tools you can think of if you want to get a sneak peek of what the new Allo feature has in store. But not exactly, Google takes the game away from a simple elusive tool to machine learning and neural networks affair. This feature taps the two aspects to analyze your images then matches them with the correct already created animations to create doppelgangers of you that you can use there and then or later in Allo conversations. You are also getting a chance to further customize the generated avatars for more personalization.
The methodology looks simple on paper, but there is more to this feature than what meets the eye. As described in the company’s research blog, the feature has gone through rigorous processes to become a reality. Computers might be more efficient in a number of ways compared to humans but there are things human beings do better. Like, identifying qualitative features like eye color is a heavy task for computers but so easy for humans. That’s why Google tapped in neural networks.
Neural networks by its self is a computer model of human brain, it learns overtime to solve emerging problems without being programmed to that effect. It could have been easier if a true replica of yourself from computer’s perception was all that was needed to actualize the Allo tool, but that is not the case. Instead Google had to look for ways to create expressive low pixel emojis and stickers which is more of breaking representation guidelines and less of replicating reality, according to Jennifer Daniel, Allo’s Expressions Creative Director.
Google also teamed up with a group artists and designers, who created a wide array of illustrations that encompass a large set of features. The team would later train the network to match illustrations to selfies correctly. As an end product, the feature offers over 563 quadrillion permutations.
Allo’s selfie-to-stickers tool is live on Play Store for Android users. For iPhone owners, the add-on will be sent out at a later date.