Google is trying hard to get folks using its AI-gifted Allo messenger service, and has jumped on a popular Netflix show to do it. For Halloween, it has revealed some Stranger Things tie-ins with the app, including a sticker pack and an AI-assisted scavenger hunt that’s happening today. If you’re in New York City and want to participate, you just ask Google Assistant “Where is Barb,” a reference to the character who just kind of … disappeared from the show.
That’ll reveal the first location (Lafayette & Grand in Soho) where “you’ll find instructions on a sticker wall to ask the Google Assistant to ‘use your powers’ in Allo,” Google says. Your AI sidekick will then tell you where to find a “mind-control vending machine through a suggestion chip in Allo” (whatever that means), directing you to a new, undisclosed Google Maps location. With some luck, you can claim a prize like a BMX bike, Pentax camera or a Panasonic boombox.
You can also download a Stranger Things sticker pack “with artwork inspired by the show (above). Google is no doubt hoping like hell that all of this will entice you to try the app, since a lot of folks are probably unaware that it even exists. As a reminder, it’s a not only a messaging service but also features Google’s conversational “Assistant” chat bot that can answer questions based on your messages.
The company does have some actual news about the app besides the PR-inspired stickers and treasure hunt. You’re now able to reply to messages directly from your notifications, saving you the trouble of going into the app. Google also added new Android N features, including a split-screen mode and app shortcuts. iOS users, meanwhile, can now doodle on photos before sharing them in the app.