When Google announced the arrival of its smart messaging app Allo in its I/O conference in May, it promised us privacy. It said that our conversations would only be stored for a short period of time (Google used the word “transiently”) before being deleted.
Unlike Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, it assured us that it won't hang on to our messages forever. But that may not be true.
Today when Allo was released, that feature wasn't actually working, reported the Verge.
Google has ditched the privacy feature and says it will store our messages forever because it will help its Allo assistant draft 'smart' replies for us. So the more data it has, the better its replies will be. By keeping chats forever, Google says it can further improve these automated answers.
A Google spokesperson has confirmed this U-turn to BBC much to the ire of privacy experts who are now warning people against using the app.
What people want: tech companies not storing their chat logs. What tech companies give them -- pointless bots. pic.twitter.com/2ypCmFpRV0— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) September 21, 2016
Google Allo launches today. Don't use allo. https://t.co/6OKtviqKuI— Jason Koebler (@jason_koebler) September 21, 2016
As the news spread, people on Twitter also expressed disappointment over Google's breach of promise:
*download Google Allo**read that Allo went back on promise to be able to delete chats, EVER**uninstall Allo*https://t.co/DE2f8mMIGC— Sir TapTap🕹 (@SirTapTap) September 21, 2016
You will have to delete conversations manually if you want them removed or you can use the incognito mode. But until then these messages will stay with Google, whether you like it or not.