Google has launched Allo, an instant messaging app for iOS and Android. Google first announced Allo at the Google I/O this year and there it was suggested that Allo would secure end to end encryption and not save private conversations. But, the finally released version which is available on various app stores is not even remotely as secure as was promised at the Google I/O. However, users can still enjoy end-to-end encryption with incognito messaging mode, which doesn’t even require logging, this is one thing where Google did not fail to deliver its promise.
The problem persists in the non-incognito mode where, unless users delete their conversations the messages remain stored on Google servers. Allo uses the same technique for non-incognito messages as is used in the Google Hangouts. The normal conversations stored on servers will remain encrypted between the device and the server but can be easily decrypted by Google using its algorithms. Earlier, Google assured that the messages will be stored transiently and not for an indefinite period but now they have retreated from their promise and now the users are required to delete the chat history to avoid it being stored on Google’s servers.
In its defence for not delivering the promised privacy, Google has attributed its failure to the Allo Assistant’s smart reply feature. The smart reply feature of Google Allo suggests replies for a conversation during a chat and like all other Artificial Intelligence systems it requires more and more data to suggest a better reply. Allo team chose smart reply over the transient storage of conversations and a greater privacy. Not so secure encryption also helps Google to avoid the wraths of governments of different countries, as the law enforcement agencies have already raised their objections over WhatsApp and iPhone’s end-to-end encryption which can’t be decrypted even by the developers of the WhatsApp and Apple. But, with Google Allo storing all the conversations from the normal mode it will be easy to decode them after a decree for the same has been passed by a court of competent jurisdiction.