Google Allo! Are You Prying?
Google has launched a new application called ‘Allo’ recently. Those who heard of it knows that Google Allo is an instant messaging mobile app with advanced features like smart reply. The smart reply feature entices the luxury to users of answering without taking any efforts for typing texts like they do. Quick response functions by using Google’s machine learning technology. With the help of this technology, a few suggestions appear on screen which relate to the last messages. Users can choose from the options that appear and can reply without texting. This smart feature is also smart enough to analyze the images sent and provides options which are suitable to reply.
Allo app also supports Google Assistant which is a conversational virtual assistant, which is another version of Siri in iOS.
Another feature of the latest app from Google’s kingdom is ‘Whisper Shout’ which allows the users to alter the size of a message to represent volume. So the size of the message can be increased or decreased, which represents its volume. Users can even draw on photos before sending them on the Allo app.
The application has the incognito mode, too, along with the default mode. Incognito mode includes individual notifications, expiring chats and end-to-end encryption. It is an optional mode including smart reply or Google assistant features.
On one hand we have the features in this new app by Google and on the contrary are its drawbacks. Users are hesitating to use this app due to a particular element it contains. Since Allo records every message sent and makes it available to the police on request users are not very comfortable with it.
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Earlier Google had claimed that just like WhatsApp the new app Allo too would include end-to-end encryption. The messages will be stored transiently and in a form that is non-identifiable. But now the company has brought about changes regarded anti-privacy.
When users begin their conversation in the incognito mode, their conversations aren’t stored indefinitely, but end-to-end encryption will still be provided. Whereas if conversations are not commenced using this particular mode, it will be stored forever and can be available for law enforcement bodies providing them with the information they demand.
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According to a Justice Department memo, the U.S Court had received about 1457 requests from the National Security Agency and FBI to gain authority for intercepting communications which involve emails as well as phone calls. The court did not reject any applications at all.
To understand how privacy gets interrupted, one can think about the way the features function. Features like Smart Reply and Google Assistant helps in predicting the responses a user would like give and it shows some to options from which users can chose. The question posed should be how does this prediction take place? The mobile app collects and stores all the data; per this data stored, artificial intelligence provides options of responses a user is likely to provide. If one observes the prediction of replies, it gets more accurate and useful as a user uses it frequently.
The new app Allo by Google has the smart features, but at the cost of privacy. Certain users feel uncomfortable knowing that the government has a record of their daily conversations; it is likely being watched all the time.