Google’s newest app, “Allo” is a messaging app that learns users’ behaviors, makes suggestions on what to say next to keep conversations going and allows users to connect quickly to Google search.
The app is impressive, and the features have led to the app having rave reviews among the community.
Security expert and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has a different view of the app. Hestated that the “smart” messaging app “records every message you ever send and makes it available to police upon request.” Snowden stated that Signal or Tor is much safer than Allo.
Google was, initially, not going to store data permanently for messages sent via the app, but the engineers said that the assistant’s responsiveness and performance boost from storing data was worth the cost of privacy. The use of transient storage allows for the logs of all chats sent via Allo to be requested by law enforcement or government agencies.
Google has asserted that they allow users full control over their messages and that messages can be deleted at any time. The company has also introduced an incognito mode which will encrypt messages end-to-end when discussing private matters. Encryption, unless encryption keys are stored, would eliminate the threat of messages being read by a third-party.
The company states that they maintain all chat logs until users decide to delete their messages. Timers can also be set to delete all messages.
The app was officially released on 9/21, just two days ago and has been met with scrutiny from security experts ever since. The app is available on Android and iOS, but it’s not available on tablets.
Allo doesn’t offer video or audio calls, and the app’s assistant is impressive despite security concerns. Users can keep the conversation going through prompts of suggestions based off of what the user has received in their message. A message that says “hello, how are you” may initiate a prompt of “I’m doing great.”