The evolution of communication has come to this: today, we let our thumbs do the talking. Instead of speaking to each other, we ping-pong messages back and forth from our smartphones.
The popularity of apps like iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have exploded over the past couple years. Now, one of the biggest tech companies in the world enters the competition with a new app that promises to be different from the others. However, one big difference could put your privacy at risk.
This week Google introduced Allo, their new messaging app with lots of cool features and abilities. Allo’s main attraction: it talks to Google Assistant- a virtual device that can make suggestions and schedule your plans, similar to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. But there’s a big problem: security.
Allo doesn’t automatically send or receive messages with end-to-end encryption. Google gives you the option to enable encryption, but the security protocol used by the most popular messaging apps is disabled by default.
The reason for the “on-off” security switch involves Allo’s need to be understood by Google Assistant. If a friend messages you a dinner invite, Assistant can’t add it to your calendar if it can’t read it. Allo users will have to choose between security or interactivity with other Google products.
Privacy advocates expect police will love Allo’s lack of security. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have complained that default encryption makes intercepting criminal communications a very difficult exercise.
If you decide to use Google’s new messaging app, be warned: your messages will not be private until you enable end-to-end encryption in Allo’s settings.
Share this message with friends and family to make sure their messages stay private.