If, for example, you are invited to go out to dinner, the app will not only suggest a phrase to help you accept the invitation, but that will also book the restaurant for you, if you want it to, AND the restaurant chosen will be in-line with your preferences. According to Google, Allo will do all of this without compromising our privacy and security. As with WhatsApp, Allo will include end-to-end encryption to protect our messages.
So what is the problem? The chat encryption… which has become an extremely controversial topic. The security measure in the app will not be enabled by default, it will only work after we have activated incognito mode.
Allo will store all non-incognito messages by default — a clear change from Google’s earlier statements that the app would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form. The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app. 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.
Like Hangouts and Gmail, Allo messages will still be encrypted between the device and Google servers, and stored on servers using encryption that leaves the messages accessible to Google’s algorithms.
Thai Duong is one of the Google engineers responsible for the chat’s development. He wrote about this on his blog, but soon after, he deleted the paragraph. He wrote, “If the incognito mode with end-to-end encryption and disappearing messages is so useful, why not use it by default in Allo?” Many of us are wondering the same thing, which is precisely the reason Duong decided to remove the post, which would have made him into a voice for change or activism.
“Google’s decision to disable end-to-end encryption by default in its new #Allo chat app is dangerous, and makes it unsafe”, said the ex-analyst on Twitter, bringing to the light the NSA’s dirty laundry. “Avoid it for now”, he warned his followers.