back to article Google's Allo chat app hits a downside to AI: Bot must hoard private messages to train itself

Google has launched its new mobile messaging app Allo today in a bid to challenge Facebook's stronghold in instant messaging. Allo differs from Google's previous attempts with Hangouts, Google Talk and Google Chat, as its main power lies in artificial intelligence, apparently. Users will be introduced to a preview edition of …

  1. Sebastian A

    I have serious doubts about Google honouring any incognito or privacy settings at this stage.

  2. EdFX

    Well that's me done on Allo... Had pre-registered but I suspect like most, don't want private messages stored when world+dog headed in opposite direction...

  3. petur

    No news...

    Why single out Allo?

    Any chat system that allows to operate on multiple devices (in sync, with history) is storing the data on a server....

    1. Test Man

      Re: No news...

      It's because it's also not encrypted, it can't be when the Assistant needs to read the chat logs in order to "train" itself.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: No news...

      Exactly, if you can use multiple devices, then the storage is not encrypted, or at least encrypted with a key they hold onto...

      The only other option is if you hold onto the key, which you need to share between devices you use...

      1. petur

        Re: No news...

        So... actually making my point and still downvoting...

        I can use Hangouts on multiple devices, so I don't see why Allo is any worse.

        Still need to check how the whatsapp desktop API does it. Wouldn't surprise me if they knew the key too.

        In fact, most chat systems have encryption to the server - Signal being the odd one out

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: No news...

      Agreed. I think this kind of data is probably the least interesting for Google. They will be interested in some of the metadata about how successful the bot is, because this will be useful for downstream products it can sell such as chatbots for support.

      Anyone who is worried about this had better be sure they're not using GMail, Chrome or YouTube, which aggregate for more valuable data.

      For chat I use Signal, Wire and very occasionally Hangouts but I'm quite keen to try Allo out because I'm very interested in the development of "conversational interfaces". In case no one else has noticed: the days of people providing first-level support and horrible, complicated phone menus are well and truly numbered.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    So this thing wants to learn all about me

    so it can pretend to be me?

    Can't see that ending well...

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    No need to worry

    It's a Google service, it'll be depreciated this time next year.

    Talk... Hangouts... Allo... goodbye.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge





    is difficult to read. Please, Miss Quatch, group your sentences by subject into paragraphs.

    Thank you.

    1. Shades

      Re: One

      I've complained about this annoying trend appearing on El Reg before. I'd like to think that the average El Reg reader is beyond having the mental capacity to only concentrate on a single sentence at a time; this isn't Buzzfeed or the BBC website. Next we'll be having "Listicles" with giant animated Gifs.

      Up next on El Reg: The Top 100 Top 100 Listicles

  7. Jess

    First thought about the name.

    'Allo, 'allo, 'allo. What 'ave we got here then?

    (Not sure if I should use an apostrophe when a letter is changed, hopefully someone will advise me for next time)

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Allo, Allo

    Google will listen very carefully

    1. Ogi

      Re: Allo, Allo

      Yes... Herr Flik!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We just want to assist you in your laziness

    Here's my life - please live it for me - i'll just stare at my screen whilst ads are pumped directly into my brain

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why

    All androids in the future will sound like C3PO...only lab interns will be willing chat to the AI to train it.

    This is also why we shouldn't fear a robot uprising. If all the AI is trained by subserviant interns then the AI will go out of its way to do everything its master tells it in the slim hope of keeping its job and getting paid for it.

    Sadly based on this theory all cups of tea made by androids will be crap and it'll take showing them 3 or 4 times to reach this level.

    Someones intern made me a coffee once. It turned up cold because they tried to use the hot outlet on the watercooler and they used teabags.

    What I got was an ice cold cup of water with two tea bags in and coffee mate floating on the top. Truly the worst cup of coffee ever.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like