Google Allo was first revealed at I/O 2016, and now key features of the app have been revealed once again by AndroidPolice. Google had showcased Allo and Duo at I/O together, and while Duo, the video-calling app has already gone live across the world, there’s no word on when Allo is coming.
AndroidPolice reports the Incognito mode aka the one with end-to-end encrypted chats will have a dark blue grey shaded background, and the icon is similar to the one you see in incognito mode on Google Chrome: the “hat-plus-eyeglasses graphic.” The report adds messages in incognito mode won’t show a “preview of the last sent/received message for these chats,” which is how it works in most secret chats across various other apps like Telegram, and also on Snpachat. You’ll only see who has sent the message, and not a preview of the Message like say it comes for WhatsApp in your notifications.
In Allo, the end-to-end encryption mode will come with an expiry time for each message, just like it is on Telegram, although according to the report, the exact expiration time is not clear. On other apps, a user can set a timer for each message in a conversation.
With Allo, Google gets ready to enter mobile messaging space once again, in hopes of challenging the bigger players like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Google is pitching Allo and Duo as more consumer-centric apps, while Hangouts be focused as an enterprise offering.
Allo is also powered by Google’s new machine-learning assistant called Google Assistant, and will offer more fun features like stickers, the ability to make reservations for a restaurant, share pictures and draw on them, etc. Some of the stickers are quite NSFW as recent leaks have revealed.
Google’s Allo Incognito mode was criticised by Edward Snowden, who said not implementing this end-to-end encryption across the app was a dangerous decision. Google had disagreed, and said the app has features which rely on the Google Assistant and AI, and thus end-to-end encryption won’t be possible if users wish to utilise them.
Google also said end-to-end encryption without disappearing messages doesn’t serve much purpose, but their Incognito mode deletes the messages are after sometime, which makes the app secure.
Allo will also offer “Smart suggestions” or quick short replies that users can send to their friends while chatting in the app. The app will learn more replies over time; the more a user relies on Allo, the better these ‘smart replies’ will get.