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At an event in São Paulo, Brazil today, Google announced a slew of updates to its various apps. On top of implementing location sharing in Google Maps, the company also added new features to Google Allo, Google Duo, and Google Photos.
Google Allo for Android has gained the ability to share documents and other files (.pdf, .doc, .apk, .zip, and .mp3). For users in Brazil, Allo is getting Smart Smiley in Portuguese. When the feature first arrived in November, it was English-only, though Google promised to add more languages. Now it’s finally delivering. Just tap the Smart Smiley button as you’re typing a message, and Allo will use machine learning to suggest relevant emojis and stickers.
Google Duo for Android and iOS has gained audio-only calling — available first to users in Brazil and rolling out to users around the world “in the coming days.” When video calling isn’t an option, whether you’re on a poor network connection or simply in a crowded area, Duo now lets you place a basic voice call. Google promises that “Duo audio calls work well on all connection speeds and won’t eat up your data.”
Google Photos for Android and iOS has gained low-connectivity backup and sharing features. Your photos will now back up automatically in a “lightweight preview quality” on 2G connections. When a good Wi-Fi connection becomes available, your backed-up photos will be replaced with high-quality versions. The same applies to sharing: On low connectivity, you can now share pictures quickly by sending a low-resolution version first, and the higher-resolution version will arrive when connectivity permits.
Finally, Google Search is also getting a small update today. During the U.S. election last year, Google started letting select users post directly on search results for people and places. Now the company is expanding the application process to organizations and people in the U.S. and Brazil within specific categories. When you perform a Google search for museums, sports teams, sports leagues, movies, and musicians (Brazil-only), you can see content from that participating organization or person. Think of it like social updates in Google Search without the Google+.
Google also made some Brazil-specific announcements today: Google Assistant rolling out in Brazilian Portuguese on Android phones running Marshmallow or Nougat, a $5 million Google.org grant to the Lemann Foundation for a tech-based education project in Brazil, bringing the São Paulo Museum of Art to Google Arts & Culture, and plans to roll out Waze Carpool in Brazil later this year.
It’s uncommon for Google to host an event outside of the U.S. with announcements that affect more than just that country. But in this case, Google said these updates are arriving thanks to extensive research into features tailored to people’s needs in “mobile-first countries,” a strategy which the company believes results in “great products for everyone, everywhere.”
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