The problem with Google Allo goes well beyond its awful privacy configuration


After its launch on September 21, Allo hasn’t stopped generating controversy. Although the functionality of the application is good, its terrible privacy configuration has made many turn away from it. Although that is important, it’s not the only problem with Allo, since it seems that Google doesn’t understand the importance of a real global launch.

If you value your privacy, then Allo isn’t for you. It’s a fact is the new messaging application from Google not only requires access to almost every part of your telephone, it’s also one of the least discreet and with the worst privacy configuration that there is right now.

In short, Allo doesn’t encrypt your end-to-end communications by default (like the vast majority of apps of this type). This type of encryption can be activated in incognito mode, but doing so would sacrifice the most characteristic option of the application: Google Assistant. Furthermore, during the I/O presentation, Google announced that it wouldn’t store the conversations, but this hasn’t ended up being true. As it turns out, Google will store all the information that you send in the app in order to improve the service.

As a consequence, Allo has created a public debate in which many have expressed their opinion in recommending users not install the application if they want to keep their privacy intact. Among them, Edward Snowden, a key figure in the movement to create awareness in digital privacy, has strongly recommended that the user community should not install Allo.

That in itself says a lot about the application and should be enough to keep the majority of users away from it. That being said, even if Allo did have excellent privacy settings, there is still something that Google hasn’t seemed to learn and that has made the launch of Allo an outright disaster.

Surprisingly, Google doesn’t seem to understand the importance of a launch that is truly global

Google Assistant is the key feature of Allo and makes it stand out from any other messaging application. Both in private and multiple conversations, Google is able to make suggestions as if it were just another user. The use of this function is still doubtful, but it is original and something that no other app can compete with. The main obvious problem is though: it’s only available in English.

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Google Assistant is the main function of Allo. / © AndroidPIT

Of course, Google will end up making this function available in all languages, but this alone is a problem. It doesn’t seem sensible to disregard a huge client base of non-English speaking Google users when the company is trying to dominate an international sector. Trying to get all users to join the application from the very outset is essential, meaning that if the most important feature of the application is only become available in certain countries months after its launch, the majority of users just won’t be interested.

I only use apps in my mother tongue.

What do you think?

Google has an advantage thanks to its knowledge of machine learning. This is not the first time that Google has made this mistake. Tap, a main feature of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, was only available in English for the first few months. Some time later, it was made available in other languages.

Google is losing an enormous opportunity by abandoning the most important feature of its new application in the majority of countries and it is especially disappointing when you keep in mind that Google has a great advantage thanks to its knowledge of machine learning and its services such as Google Translate.

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Google has a major advantage in its knowledge in machine learning. / © ANDROIDPIT

Apple, with iOS 10, brought out a feature which anticipates the right emojis depending on the words that you type (which, surprisingly is already activated in the Google keyboard for iOS but not for Android, and which other keyboards had already included). This new service works without any problem both in Spanish and English and has done so right from the moment of its launch, which was the same in all countries.

Allo, for many (including me) is not a recommendable app for several reasons, but even if it were, it probably wouldn’t have had the expected success, because its partial launch in the majority of countries generates disinterest.

Are you optimistic with regard to Allo? Do you think that Google has got it right with their latest app? Give us your opinion in the comments section.

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