Google appears to be testing a redesigned “new message” interface in Allo

The response to Allo has been… not so great, to put it lightly. It’s missing dozens of essential features and just adds to the number of messaging apps Google already has. However, over the past week or so, I’ve noticed a new layout in my “new message” interface.

When tapping the turquoise message icon in the Allo home screen, it brings up my contacts sorted into two different lists—Allo contacts and Phone contacts, with the Phone contacts having little “SMS” indicators.

Tapping on an Allo contact launches a normal Allo chat, but tapping on a Phone contact brings up a dialogue box with two options—”Chat via SMS” or “Invite to Allo.”

“Chat via SMS” uses the regular Google SMS, which is what Allo has been using since the start and sort of looks like spam to your friends. “Invite to Allo” launches your default SMS app (in my case, Google Messenger) and preloads the text “I’m chatting on Google Allo. Try it with me!”

Certainly, these features are either recently added or being tested as I can clearly remember my contacts previously were all combined and I didn’t who was using Allo and who was not.

Of course, this change is welcome, but if the Allo team (hopefully) ends up adding SMS support in the future, I would rather prefer all my contacts combined into a single list, thus making a much more seamless messaging experience.