Google Allo may be a threat to chat security

September 26, 2016
3 min read
||||||Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is interviewed by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong...Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6, 2013. Snowden was on July 24, 2013 granted documents that will allow him to leave a Moscow airport where he is holed up, an airport source said on Wednesday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of U.S. government intelligence programmes, was expected to meet his lawyer at Sheremetyevo airport later on Wednesday after lodging a request for temporary asylum in Russia. The immigration authorities declined immediate comment. Picture taken June 6, 2013. MANDATORY CREDIT. REUTERS/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian/Handout via Reuters (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA)

Google Allo was launched in the US app market on Wednesday last week and on Friday,  it was made available to Nigerians on the Google Play Store.

Google Allo is Google's recent attempt at breaking into instant messaging; a space which may have been monopolized by Facebook with the acquisition of WhatsApp.


The Allo chat app has features like the Smart Reply which suggests responses to messages based on context. It also comes with fun ways to make chats more expressive, (this includes emojis, stickers, and the ability to get creative with photos). Basically, it knows what you want to say next.


Google Allo had originally promised to store messages impermanently and in an encrypted mode that is unreadable, but with the inclusion of the Google assistant bot in the app, that may be impossible as it would need to store data for intuitiveness.

Since the announcement of the release, there has been a particular anticipatory excitement to see and experience this super chat app. However, in a series of tweets, Edward Snowden warned the world to stay away from the brand new Google Allo.

"Free for download today: Google Mail, Google Maps, and Google Surveillance. That's #Allo. Don't use Allo" Edward had tweeted from his personal Twitter handle.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is a whistleblower and a former CIA and NSA employee who revealed details of classified surveillance programs that proved the United States was spying on most of the world.

When asked, Snowden even went ahead to negate the popular myth that Telegram as a chat app is the most secure. The above tweet was his reply, to a user that asked about the security of Telegram.

Five days after its release, Google Allo has something in the region of 1 million downloads for Android users on the Google Play Store.

This numbers are contrasting sharply with those of the Google Duo -- its sister video messaging app -- that was released 5 days before the Google Allo.


Maybe it is the facts that Google Duo is a video conferencing app and a Facetime of sorts for Android users, a worthy alternative to Skype -- which is also not secure. Or maybe people have been taking Snowden's advice way too seriously.

This information, coming at a time when WhatsApp is collecting data and sharing with Facebook is worrisome. Should we be wary of social messaging apps as a means of communication?


Featured Image; Fast Company 

tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor
tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor
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tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor

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