Google has updated Allo as it positions the app to take on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Snapchat.
(CCM) — Google is attempting to breathe life into its Allo chat service with a major update to the Android version of the app. Allo was launched in September, but less than ten million people have installed the app. By contrast, competitors such as Snapchat boast more than 100 million regular users. The update introduces new features including a spit-screen mode, which allows users to open an app and then run Allo on top of it, and support for quick replies to messages from the notification shade. Both are features that are supported natively in Android 7.0 Nougat, and their introduction into Allo is a demonstration by Google that it is committed to the app despite its low uptake rate to date.
Allo got off to a troubled start shortly after its launch when Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, warned against using the app. He pointed out that Google stores all conversations indefinitely, and therefore, they could be made available to law enforcement agencies. Conversations are stored for later analysis by Google's machine learning systems to improve capabilities such as smart replies. The app does offer an Incognito mode which encrypts all conversations so that they are hidden from Google and government agencies, but this is not enabled by default.
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