Google Allo 9.0 has arrived, and with it plenty of background changes that haven’t yet been enabled. A couple weeks ago we told you about some features we found evidence of in the last major version of Allo (like quick selfie, backup & restore, and more stickers), and this version of Allo seems to further prepare some of these and lay the groundwork for them to be enabled with a server-side switch…

About APK Teardowns: In this ‘APK teardown,’ we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that was uploaded to the Play Store. When an app (or an APK, to be specific, in the case of Android apps) is decompiled, we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. With that in mind, read on.

Google Drive & External Backups

The first major thing that this update adds is further evidence of the app’s forthcoming ability to do backups of your Google Allo data to Google Drive and external storage.

One piece of evidence regarding chat backups is a pop up message that will tell you when Google Allo has found a recent backup and offer to restore them:

<string name=”restore_backup_body_backup_found”>”Looks like your chats have recently been backed up. To prevent losing previous chats, restore them now. If you don’t restore now you won’t be able to restore chats later.“</string>

It also appears that backups will include images, video, and other content. And once Allo does the initial chat backup restore, that content will continue to restore in the background so you can get to using the app:

<string name=”restore_backup_body_restore_finished”>You may start using Allo now. We will continue to restore your images and videos in the background</string>

The app makes reference to two possible backup locations: external storage, and Google Drive:

<string name=”restore_backup_subtitle_location_external_storage”>external storage</string> <string name=”restore_backup_subtitle_location_google_drive”>Google Drive</string>

And there’s plenty of messages to go along with the Google Drive backup, upload, and restore process. Apparently, uploading to Google Drive will require WiFi in some circumstances. But it appears you can disable this feature, in which case the app presents you with the usual warning that uploading over cellular could cost you in terms of data charges:

<string name=”chat_backup_manual_backup_drive_compute_failed”>Failed to prepare a Google Drive backup.</string> <string name=”chat_backup_manual_backup_drive_compute_progress”>Preparing Google Drive upload …</string> <string name=”chat_backup_manual_backup_drive_computing_retry_progress”>Retrying Google Drive upload …</string> <string name=”chat_backup_manual_backup_drive_upload_failed”>Failed to create a Google Drive backup.</string> <string name=”chat_backup_manual_backup_drive_upload_progress” formatted=”false”>Backing up to Google Drive – %s of %s uploaded</string> <string name=”chat_backup_manual_backup_drive_upload_progress_needs_connection”>Waiting for a connection …</string> <string name=”chat_backup_manual_backup_drive_upload_progress_needs_wifi”>Waiting for Wi-Fi connection …</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_wifi_only_title”>Wi-Fi only</string>

There is a global option for enabling chat backups, and a variety of frequencies to choose from so that you can decide how often you want the app to backup your data. There also seems to options for choosing whether or not you want additional data such as videos, images, and files to Google Drive:

 <string name=”chat_backup_upload_category_title”>Upload Settings</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_enabled_pref_key”>fireball_chat_backup_upload_enabled</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_frequency_daily”>Daily</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_frequency_days_pref_default”>7</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_frequency_days_pref_key”>fireball_chat_backup_upload_frequency_days</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_frequency_manual”>Manual</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_frequency_title”>Frequency</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_frequency_weekly”>Weekly</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_media_type_images”>Images</string> <string name=”chat_backup_upload_media_type_videos_and_files”>Videos and Files</string>

Quick selfie

We first found out about the new quick selfie feature (and showed you an initial preview of what it looks like) a couple weeks ago, and Google Allo 9.0 adds some strings that further confirms its existence and offers an idea of how it will work for users. Apparently, there will be an option to enable this feature as well as live camera preview:

<string name=”enable_quick_selfie_live_button_pref_summary”>Enable live camera preview in your chats</string> <string name=”enable_quick_selfie_live_button_pref_title”>Quick Selfie camera</string>

Group incognito chats

We mentioned recently that we found evidence that group chats would soon be able to activate Incognito mode, and Allo version 9.0 adds yet another string specifically referring to a “group incognito chat” feature.

<string name=”create_backchannel_group”>Start group incognito chat</string>

Selfie-generated sticker packs

We first told you about evidence for a future selfie-generated sticker pack feature all the way back with the release of Allo 5.0, and not long after that release Google removed the strings referencing the feature. Assumably, it’s getting closer to a full release since those strings are now back in version 9.0.

<string name=”face_capture_explanatory_text”>Take a selfie and we’ll automagically generate a sticker pack in your likeness. For best results, keep a neutral expression</string> <string name=”face_capture_image_preview_content_description”>Image selected for sticker personalization</string> <string name=”face_capture_preview_cancel_button_label”>Cancel</string>l

Allo 9.0 is rolling out on the Play Store, and as of yet we’ve not found any of these new features to be actually user-facing. As mentioned, it’s likely that we’ll see many of these enabled via a server-side update in the coming weeks, and we’ll keep you in the loop as they become available. Until then, we’re doing our best to enable them ourselves on our test devices.

Update: We now have images of the new backup feature and group incognito chat option.

@EvoWizz contributed to this article.

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About the Author

Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.