When Google announced Allo, it’s smart messaging app with built in AI at Google I/O 2016, it promised privacy and security features such as end-to-end encrypted messages, expiring chats and private notifications in a dedicated incognito mode. Also mentioned by Google was the fact that Allo, instead of storing users’ messages on Google’s servers indefinitely, would only store messages transiently.
But with the release of the app today, Google is backing off on some of those features.
The Verge reports that the version of Allo that’s rolling out today will store all non-incognito messages indefinitely on Google’s servers by default. Until the user deletes them manually,the messages will stay on Google’s servers, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app. The messages will be stored in an encrypted form, however, will be accessible by Google’s algorithms. This decision will allow law enforcement to access Allo messages as long as they have a warrant. It’s the same deal with Hangouts, Gmail and Android location data.
Users can also avoid the logging by using Allo’s Incognito Mode, which is still fully end-to-end encrypted and unchanged from the initial announcement.
Google says the change was made because storing the data will help Google assistant cater smarter and more personalized replies which is not a surprise because isn’t it how Google’s entire existence revolves around? User data? As the Allo team tested those replies, they decided the performance boost from permanently stored messages was worth giving up privacy benefits of transient storage.
The messages as previously mentioned however will be deleted from Google’s server as long as the user has deleted them or incognito mode is used, which is enough to keep Google in a better place than Apple was in San Bernardino.
To use incognito mode in Allo, simply open Google Allo and tap the New Chat button on the bottom-right of your screen. Tap Start incognito chat and from the Contacts list, select the person’s name you’d like to chat with.
When in an incognito chat, any new message notification will only read “You have a new message”
A timer can also be set for the messages to expire after a certain amount of time. You can also turn all notifications off entirely by heading to Menu>Settings>Notifications. Here’s how to change the chat expiration time in Allo:
- Tap the timer button on the top-right of your screen
- Scroll through and select your desired chat expiration time
Have you used incognito chats in Allo? If so, how are you liking the experience? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Source : The Verge