Google Allo 11 Hints at Allowing you to Add Members to Group Chats via QR Codes


Earlier today, Google officially announced an update to the Google Allo application that would bring users the ability to create their own sticker packs from selfies using the power of neural networks. That update is now arriving in version 11 of Google Allo, but an APK Teardown of the app reveals that another feature may be on its way: the ability to add friends to a group chat with a QR code.

Although an APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.

Adding Group Chat Members via QR Codes

Within the latest APK file, we have found several strings and layout files that suggest the ability to add new members to chats through the use of QR codes.

Group QR Code Strings

<string name="add_with_qr_code">Add with QR code</string>
<string name="action_qr_scanner">QR scanner</string>
<string name="group_qr_code_title">Group QR Code</string>
<string name="message_failed_to_generate_qr_code">Failed to generate QR code.</string>
<string name="qr_code_scanner_hint_text">Ready to join? Center the Allo code to scan</string>
<string name="qr_code_scanner_invalid_dialog_title">"That code isn't valid"</string>
<string name="qr_scanner_activity_title">QR scanner</string>
<string name="scan_qr_code_to_join_group">"To add someone to the group,
have them scan this code"</string>

These strings are fairly self-explanatory. You can simply generate a QR code that you can then share with another user. That user can then scan the QR code in their Allo app in order to quickly join the group. This beats having to manually share phone numbers with everyone you want joining a group.

We can see further evidence for this feature coming to Google Allo with various XML files that define the Group QR code activity, as well as the icons used to indicate the QR scanning feature in the app.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout android:orientation="vertical" android:background="@color/quantum_white_100" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent"
<include layout="@layout/toolbar" />
<FrameLayout android:id="@id/fragment_container" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent" />
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout android:orientation="vertical" android:background="@android:color/transparent" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="fill_parent"
<LinearLayout android:orientation="vertical" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="wrap_content">
<ImageView android:layout_gravity="center" android:id="@id/qr_code" android:layout_width="@dimen/group_qr_code_size" android:layout_height="@dimen/group_qr_code_size" android:layout_marginTop="@dimen/group_qr_code_margin_top" android:layout_marginBottom="@dimen/group_qr_code_margin_bottom" android:contentDescription="@string/group_qr_code_title" />
<LinearLayout android:orientation="vertical" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="0.0dip" android:layout_weight="1.0">
<TextView android:ellipsize="end" android:gravity="center_horizontal" android:layout_gravity="center" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:text="@string/scan_qr_code_to_join_group" android:maxLines="2" android:lineSpacingExtra="@dimen/group_qr_code_text_extra_spacing" style="@style/GroupQRCodeHintTextStyle" />

Finally, I was able to access the activity in the app where you generate the QR code – showing that this feature is basically almost live.  Of course, since I accessed it from a method other than the default way (which I don’t believe is enabled yet), there’s not actually any QR code that can be generated.

I’ll continue digging around and update this article if I find anything interesting in the live build, or through an APK teardown. If you are looking for this latest release of the Google Allo, you can download it right now over at APKMirror. Follow our APK Teardown tag for more articles like this!

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