Google Allo

Google Assistant arrives on iPhone

At its I/O 2017 developer conference today, Google announced Google Assistant is coming to iOS today as a standalone app, rolling out to the U.S. first. Until now, the only way iPhone users could access Google Assistant was through Allo, the Google messaging app nobody uses.

Scott Huffman, vice president of Google Assistant engineering, made the announcement onstage. He also revealed that Google Assistant is already available on over 100 million Android devices. That’s Google’s way of hinting to developers that they should start building for the tool.

Huffman also added that Google Assistant is becoming available in more languages on both Android and iOS (it’s still English-only today). Support for French, German, Brazilian-Portuguese, and Japanese is coming later this summer while Italian, Spanish, and Korean will be available by the…

Google Allo’s Selfie Stickers Are Cool, But Don’t Get Too Excited

Fans of Bitmoji: there’s a new caricature app that you’ll want to see. It’s more aesthetically pleasing and a breeze to use, but not so simple to share.

Google has a new feature in its latest update for Google Allo, an instant messaging mobile app released last September for Android and iOS users: selfie stickers—a custom caricature created by using a photo of any given user.

The technology behind this feature (currently only available for Android users) makes for a unique experience. Google is utilizing machine learning and neural networks “to analyze the pixels of an image and algorithmically determine attribute values by looking at pixel values to measure color, shape, or texture.” Essentially, the app creates a cartoon sticker, illustrated by storyboard artist Lamar Abrams, that actually resembles what you look like.

Something similar already exists

The general concept is an awful lot like Bitmoji—a personal emoji spin-off app created by Bitstrips in 2014. But Google’s selfie sticker has a leg up on Bitmoji when it comes to being user-friendly and streamlining the emoji creation process.

Bitmoji’s cartoon avatars rely on users selecting features for themselves. This is great for personalization, as everything from wardrobe and body type to eyebrows and headgear can be customized. But it also leaves it to the user to hand-pick what they think they look like. And let’s face it—we’re often not the best judges of our own appearance. If you’re going for accuracy, Bitmojis leave a lot to be desired.

With Google’s selfie sticker, the app does all the legwork behind emoji creation for you. So…