Allo’s launch very much came and went, but not before introducing a very nifty — or depending on how you look at it, annoying — feature. App Preview Messaging allows those who don’t use Allo to send replies when messaged by someone from the app. Google is now opening up the Google Play Services feature and letting other messaging apps implement it.

App Preview Messaging is Google’s attempt at dealing with the increasing number of messaging apps today that are often isolated and not cross-compatible with each other. The feature will eventually be available to all messaging app developers, but in the meantime it is in preview for several partners.

We realize that making it easy to reach the right contact isn’t just a challenge for our users — it’s also a challenge for many messaging app developers. So, we’re also opening up this feature to developers with an early access program, allowing them to extend the reach of their messaging app.

To help “reach your friends and family” that use different apps, App Preview Messaging lets Android users “send messages through their messaging app to any of the contacts in their phonebook.” While the sender could be using an iOS device, the receiver must be on Android as App Preview Messaging is a part of Google Play Services. All users will have full control over this feature and can turn it off in settings.

App Preview Messaging notifications are much taller than regular Peek notifications. They only exist in the notification shade and if swiped away cannot be brought back without installing the app. As you may know, it features the sender’s profile image in the top left, a small app icon, and sender details. Users can reply to the message with buttons to install the app or ignore the message at the bottom.

Overall, this is an interesting plan by Google to help developers solve the problem of fragmentation in messaging apps. Of course, Google itself is contributing to the already crowded messaging field with Allo and Duo.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: