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Google Allo finally gets GIFs and other new tricks

Google's messaging app has three new features, including animated GIFs.

Now playing: Watch this: Google Allo puts an assistant in your pocket

Messages on Allo are getting a bit more lively today.

That's becuse Google rolled out three new features on its messaging app, Allo. In addition to sending out GIFs, the app is more closely integrated with Google's digital search assistant, which uses machine learning and the company's search database to find answers to all kinds of queries. (Just don't expect it to know how to handle a breakup or getting fired.) Below is a walk-through of how to use these new tools. If you want more info, check out how to get started with Google Allo.

Search and add GIFs. Sometimes, mere words aren't enough to express how you feel and only an animated GIF will do. To add GIFs to your conversation, tap on the smiling emoji icon. Scroll all the way to the left and search for GIFs using keywords. If you want Allo to go ahead and choose a GIF for you, type "@lucky" followed by the relevant search word/term. A (hopefully relevant) GIF will be randomly chosen. (If you use the messaging platform Slack, it works similar to the "/giphy" command.)

Allo gets giffy with it.


Animate your emojis. As someone who is on both Android and iOS, I'm partial to Android's charming, nubby emojis (they're just more nuanced and expressive). In Allo's update, some emojis are now animated. To send one, select an emoji and then long-press the send button until a vertical meter appears. Drag your finger up to enlarge the emoji and animate it, too.

Summon Google Assistant quickly. Google Assistant can swiftly find answers to queries like nearby businesses, news and random facts. You can already bring Assistant into an existing conversation by typing "@google," but now you can access it in the compose box. Just tap the icon with the four circles and begin your query.