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Google launches messaging app Allo; features pose privacy concerns

Edward Snowden tweeted warning people from using the app as its end-to-end encryption is turned off by default. Photograph: (Twitter)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 22, 2016, 09.58 AM (IST)
On Wednesday, search engine giant Google launched its new app 'Google Allo' in a bid to replace Facebook-owned messenger service Whatsapp, according to media reports. 

The app is currently available on Android and iOS and will soon be available on computers too. It functions on artificial intelligence with its servers storing information to anticipate a user's response.

Its features consist of Smart Reply, Google Assistant, Incognito Mode and Whisper Shout. Smart reply maps out users' response and gives suggestions accordingly while Google assistant, a virtual assistant, guides and offers help like a real assistant.

Instead of capitalising words and adding exclamation points, users can simply use the 'Whisper Shout' feature to emphasise the words and incognito mode allows the user to have private conversations without the app saving it.

Like other Google apps, Allo users can use a variety of stickers and emojis in their chat.

However, the app poses a security concern for many users as its end-to-end encryption is turned off by default. If a conversation takes place without the incognito mode on, the app will save it.

This will give free access to government agencies. NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden has posted tweets warning people from using the app.

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