Future versions of Google Allo might let you enable end-to-end encryption by default


Google's newly announced 'Allo' messenger seems to have all fronts covered, including the ever-pressing issue of privacy. The app's optional 'Incognito' mode lets users chat between the secure walls of end-to-end encryption, and not only are their messages encoded into scrambled numbers for the eyes of spies, but no copies of the communication are being left behind anywhere. However, the feature doesn't let users interact with the smart 'Assistant', and they are missing out on other functionality allowed by the machine learning algorithms.

The app isn't available to users right now, but they are able to 'reserve' it in the Google Play store and download it later in the year. However, Google – or at least one mindful engineer in its ranks of clever developers – is pushing for flipping the end-to-end encryption switch in 'On' position by default in future versions of 'Allo'.

Security engineer Thai Duong published a blog post, explaining that a setting where users can opt out of clear text messaging is in the plans. Rather than entering 'Incognito mode' and losing out on the cool Google-powered functionality, users will be able to configure 'Allo' to always chat in secure mode while still being able to invoke the smart AI assistant.

As it stands, the machine learning-powered helper cannot function without the ability to scan your messages for contextual clues and deliver appropriate information such as directions, schedules, links, and other data helpful for users. While 'Incognito' mode has the unfortunate side effect of cutting the smart assistant out of the equation, this is a problem Google should be able to solve in the future.

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6 Comments

1. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Hopefully Google kills Messenger and Hangouts in the future And adds support for SMS and RCS Allo+Duo seems like a good combo to compete with iMessenger+FaceTime

2. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

There are a few reasons why they won't. 1) People who use iMessage and FaceTime, already have their solution with WhatsApp bridging the gap between both platforms. 2) Google has a terrible track record with messaging applications. Google Talk, Hangouts, Messenger, etc. You name it, they've tried it. 3) They apparently are unaware or just don't care about what makes a good chat/cm app setup. The reason Apple's is so popular is because they're almost completely integrated into one another. That, and both apps come standard on every IOS device ranging from phones to music players.

4. jove39

Posts: 2145; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Hangouts is Google's most feature rich messaging app so far...is it best app...nope. Google should have renamed hangouts/improved it's text & video messaging capabilities instead of adding to the redundancy of messaging apps.

8. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

1) yep, iOS users aren't going to be switching. WhatsApps doesn't support SMS or RCS, if Allo does, I could see Android users jumping 2) yep, agreed 3) yep. But Google could add Allo/Duo to GMS/Android compatibility and "force" OEMs to use it as default. Not sure if Google has the balls to do that though and the EU would have another hessy fit

7. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

You can't have the AI with E2E encryption unless it is hosted on the device.

9. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Will this be another message app on top of hangouts and what ever the app your phone maker has installed for messaging? Ugh. I like Android but it's a little to cluttered with duel apps. HTC has the right idea slimming things down.

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