Google takes aim at rivals with ‘smart’ messaging app
WASHINGTON: Google took aim yesterday at the red-hot mobile messaging market, with a new artificial intelligence-powered Allo app that seeks to compete with popular rivals such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
But the app’s reliance on Google’s predictive software drew immediate criticism from privacy advocates who argued it could open up user data to law enforcement – with former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden warning people not to use it.
Google defended its privacy stand, saying users can opt for a more secure “incognito” mode if they prefer.
The app includes Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence program which makes live suggestions as you chat.
“You no longer need to leave a conversation with friends just to grab an address, share your favorite YouTube video, or pick a dinner spot,” Google said in a blog post.
“Google Allo can help you make plans, find information, and express yourself more easily in chat. And the more you use it, the more it improves over time,” Google said.
The app will adjust according to whether its user’s style is usually an emoji or written response, for example. Like rival apps, it has tools for personalising chat messages including changing the size of emojis and a choice of stickers.
The app is available on smartphones using Google’s Android system and Apple’s iOS. – AFP