Our teardown of Allo 24 revealed that Google’s consumer messaging app might be on the verge of letting users contact one another via email address. This would alter the app’s central tenet of phone number-based communication which have informed other features like the web app and only being able to sign-in on one device.

Fortunately, the latest update of Allo hints that too might be change, with Google working on multi-device support for the service.

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.

Version 24 of Allo contains the following string in the section where we frequently enable in-progress features.

GaiaMultiDevice_ _enable_multi_device

From what we’ve been able to activate, work is still very much underway. At the moment, activating does not yield any changes. In fact, we’re encountering bugs like not being able to send messages when enabled.

It’s unclear if “multi_device” is even in reference to being able to sign-in to Allo across multiple devices or the web without needing to have your phone nearby to first establish a connection.

Furthermore, it’s unclear what exact implementation it will take, but “Gaia” — usually a reference to Google accounts — in the string above does provide a big clue. Multi-device might be reliant on linking a Google account and that implementation would suggest Allo morphing into a more traditional web-based service.

It comes as the latest versions of both Allo and Duo hint at support for reaching contacts via their email address, instead of just a phone number.

Whatever form, this addition would be a huge benefit for those who have multiple devices and want to simply use Allo across all of them.

Dylan contributed to this article

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com