Google Allo

Google is bringing two of its biggest software underachievers closer together to benefit the no doubt very small number of users Allo and Android Auto might be sharing.

As for actual adoption, if the former’s recent emoji, GIF and Google Assistant improvements didn’t help drive up the download scores, tighter Auto integration is unlikely to do much for instant messaging fans probably favoring Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber or even Telegram or Signal’s rival chatting services.

Android Auto also received a couple of important updates over the past few months, boosting its reach, simplicity and voice controls, so again, those previously unimpressed with the “smart car” platform will not be swayed to give it a try all of a sudden because it lets them finally “enjoy hands-free messaging when you’re on the go.”

Well, technically, Allo does, no longer just showing your text notifications and hiding them to minimize distractions, but actually allowing for some interaction. You can dictate a reply or choose a prewritten one like “I’m driving right now” without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel, and the new combo app will also read your inbox mail aloud to keep those curious eyes peeled on the road at all times. Neat, but far from revolutionary.

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