Here's a look at Google Allo's Snapchat-like timed messages for private chats

Allo in an encrypted messaging app from GoogleGoogle Developers

Google's Allo is one of two new messaging services coming to Android users alongside Duo – a new video chat app. Both services are encrypted end-to-end and the text-based Allo allows users to have timed conversations that eventually disappear, similar to Snapchat.

Here's a peek at what private conversations in Allo will look like. The images come courtesy of Android Police, who were recently able to preview Google's upcoming messaging service.

You can set timers in private chats, after which messages will self-destructAndroid Police

Users can set messages to display for five seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute, one hour, one day, one week or have it display indefinitely, i.e. with no timer. At the moment, it doesn't look as if you can set the timer anywhere between these increments – a minute and a half, for example. The expiration time of future messages can be changed by either chat participant at any time, however this doesn't work retrospectively. In other words, you can't change the time limit of an old message from one day to 10 seconds.

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Much like in the Chrome, private chats in Allo can be identified by a blue-grey background featuring the browser's incognito graphic. According to Android Police, the same graphic will also appear on top of contacts' profile photos while in this mode, meanwhile any notifications you receive won't display a preview of the message's content.

One strange caveat is that it appears you can't view the timer on any messages you send or receive until it disappears, essentially forcing you to read any messages you get straight away and quickly. There's also no way of knowing whether an individual message has been read by the recipient before it disappears.

Private chats carry the unmistakable incognito background à la Google ChromeAndroid Police

The app version previewed by Android Police was a test version, meaning these issues may well have been addressed by the time Allo reaches users in the coming weeks. If it can perform anywhere as well as Duo has so far, Google may have a double-whammy of winning apps on its hands.

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