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Google Reneges on Allo Privacy Feature

Linked by Paul Ciano on September 26, 2016

John Gruber:

Google wants to read and index your chats. It’s that simple.

According to Google, the change was made to improve the Allo assistant’s smart reply feature, which generates suggested responses to a given conversation. Like most machine learning systems, the smart replies work better with more data. As the Allo team tested those replies, they decided the performance boost from permanently stored messages was worth giving up privacy benefits of transient storage.

That’s a fair tradeoff, but it also shows very clearly who is in control at Google when it comes to features/advertising potential vs. user privacy debates. When has such a decision at Google ever erred on the side of privacy?


If you are interested in a more secure, easy to use, and more private means of communication, Signal is a good place to start (it also supports animated GIFs!).

Paul Ciano

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