The Google I/O 2016 ushered in a new chat app from Google by the name of Allo. This app comes in with a complete incognito mode that brings the power of Open Whispers Systems onto this platform.
The incognito mode boasts an end-to-end encryption protocol that ensures messages exchanged between two parties using the app remains only between them. This is not the first time such technology is coming into play as far as chat apps are concerned. The most popular chat app on the planet, WhatsApp, already makes use of the same technology supplied by the same firm.
According to a blog post by Open Whispers Systems, the new Allo app has been worked on by their team in conjunction with Google to ensure that the incognito mode works perfectly. In addition, the Allo encryption protocol will be built on the Open Whispers Signal protocol.
“We have been collaborating with Google on the integration of Signal protocol into the Allo app. This will bring the entirety of Signal Protocol’s string encryption abilities to the app’s Incognito mode,” Open Whispers Systems’ blog post pointed out. The company promised to provide more technical details with time when the app is officially availed for public use.
As mentioned earlier, Open Whispers Systems also works with WhatsApp with respect to end-to-end encryption. The open-source Signal protocol is also available on this Facebook-owned app and apparently, the chat app finished rolling out this end-to-end encryption this year. The Signal protocol has successfully gone through a number of audits, proving that it is actually the best and most secure protocol around.
Same protocol, different approach
Even though Allo and WhatsApp take advantage of the same Signal protocol, their implementation is not the same. Unlike WhatsApp which offers end-to-end encryption to messages and calls as a default option, Allo only offers this protection when in incognito mode. This requires that users switch from sending unprotected messages to sending protected messages right from within the app, which has drawn some concerns that some might mistakenly send messages thinking that they are encrypted yet they aren’t.
Maybe Google will come up with a way of notifying users that they are sending unprotected messages right before they send or probably add an onscreen toggle for turning the incognito mode on and off. At the moment, anything is possible as the app still has some weeks or maybe months before it is finally released later in the summer.