What I don't understand is -- given Allo had a blank slate, why did they limit it to just mobile? They cover two major silos (Android + iOS), (one reason we dont use iMsg) but why not the third silo (non-mobile)?
We can use it in the browser at work just by keeping Gmail open in a tab. No IM applications to install or concerns about whether we're running Windows, OSX, or whatever.
Then the conversations follow when you log off whatever desktop or laptop you're on via the mobile app. About half of us use Android so it either comes standard or you can easily install. The other half uses iOS and unlike iMessage/iChat/Facetime, you can easily use it on iOS as well as Android.
I installed Allo today but so far I haven't had a chance to try it out. Frankly it gives me the same mild annoyance I felt when Facebook broke messaging out into a separate app (and when I just said screw it and uninstalled both).
As much as I use and generally like Google stuff, they drive me nuts with their approach a lot of the time. When GChat/Talk became Hangouts and started integrating Voice and SMS/MMS, it seemed like a move in the right direction, both for them as a company (wanting to be your one stop shop for messaging) and for me as a user (less apps, more seamless integration). Then SMS/MMS was split back off into Messaging, Voice...I haven't really heard much about Voice in a while which is weird because it was one of those things that seemed so promising at one point. And now Duo alongside the pretty great video chat already in Hangouts and Allo alongside Messaging alongside Hangouts.
I get the idea of maybe starting a secondary platform/service/app to see what sticks and what doesn't. At worst they can integrate the good bits into their main product (see: Inbox). But their messaging strategy seems more like publishing Inbox with the intention of just ditching plain old Gmail.
I get the desire to start fresh, but that's a lot of established traction in a very crowded market to just throw away.
I was wondering that too. I honestly suspect some executive in Google's team wanted to have more visibility, team and power.
If they want something really innovative, bring back open standards and a federated IM protocol. We went from AIM/Yahoo/MSN to XMPP .. and back to Google/FB. It feels like a regression.
Edit: Oh and more recently Discord has taken over my friend group's urge to talk with voices.
Edit: Actually testing that, that's actually pretty neat. I'm going to do that when I get home!
So why doesn't it get more love from Google?
UI? I write things, and they appear in front of someone else. Even my technophobe mom has no problems with it.
Tied to Google... well, yeah. But you kind of need some kind of 'account' for chat apps.
I remember when 'Whatsapp' came out and people mentioned that it didn't have a web interface. I won't use anything that I can't type into when I'm at a computer - pulling out my phone and t-y-p-i-n-g out a message is just a non-starter.
The UI lags hard for me during common operations, such as opening the app, and sending messages; often there's a several second lag between pressing the send button, the entry field blanking, and the message finally showing up in the conversation w/ UI indicating that it's in the process of being sent.
And occasionally, yes, I out-type the app & phone's ability to process keyboard input. My phone is a bit old, but that seems like an excuse more than anything; I don't really understand why it's so hard for a device w/ a processor that measures its speed in GHz and RAM measured in GB to keep up with a single app whose job is to send text messages.
But alas, the phone world's opinion is that I should upgrade to the latest and greatest $400-$600 phone every 18 months.
Not only that, but when I've explained these issues to my friends they respond with the same response you gave, down to the 'weird.'
And the name is stupid. When I used to encourage people to use Hangouts, I always had to explain the name. Talk is a great name and they should have gone back to it for Allo.
> why isn't Allo just Hangouts 3
While I agree with first two, Hangouts was a terrible brand with a bad rep on UX (too slow on Android, complex UI etc), it was kind of like Google's Internet Explorer. They had to get rid of the brand for consumers at least especially younger ones that are the prime target (the Snapchat generation if I may say). I agree though that Hangouts has a better reputation with the corporate world even though Slack is kind of eating their lunch minus the video part where they're still king I think.
These 2 new apps are destined to fail
I still use hangouts cause it's linked with Gmail ... but I hate it cause it's slow and unreliable
One possible explanation: internally Google eats their own dog food. When I was a contractor there, everything ran on gmail, gooogle docs, and hangouts. Perhaps they wanted something better for internal use, and now we get to use it also?
The same reason Duo isn't.
Both are substantial departures from what Hangouts was, with some overlap, and calling either Hangouts would create incorrect expectations.
From what I've read Allo will become the casual messaging app, and Hangouts for work. Google probably wants to compete with Slack and similar offers.
I wouldn't be surprised if at some point Google allows Allo and Hangouts to communicate.
It took Google forever to update it to match the iOS 7 "flat" look. And to this day it's missing a pretty obvious feature: search! Yes, there is no search functionality in the Google Voice app on iPhone. Apple's Messages and Facebook Messenger both have it.
There's also https://hangouts.google.com/
I chat via messenger a lot more than I check my newsfeed, and when I check my newsfeed I don't care about messages. Perfect split for me at least :)
Now, if someone uses Facebook Messenger to send me a message, my Facebook app will notify me about unread messages - I've disabled most notifications, but the icon still gets a number increase indicating messages that can be read. These messages cannot be read from within the app without installing Messenger. Using the browser no longer work for reading these messages, since they are pushing the Messenger app.
The only sad part here are the few "friends" that actually write their messages to /dev/null trying to reach me...
I've been contemplating disabling my FB account altogether, but it turns out it is required sometimes for authentication. Spotify being an important one for me.
Well, using the browser works, but you have to use "Request desktop page".
Ditto. Works for me, too. I use FB.com to see messages on mobile Safari.
The only reason I don't use FB.com for everything is cause FB app allows me to upload video (but since I can't seem to get video posted to FB, via my iPhone 5C, to come out nicely, I'm going to delete the app too).
You can use "request desktop site" on messenger.com (and probably also facebook.com), or use mbasic.facebook.com to get messages without the messenger app.
If you force the desktop version of the page it works, but is awkward. Instead I use a web wrapper that has some other nice features, like showing me my messages with formatting that scales well to my phone's screen size
For example of Hangouts issues, the SMS integration had all sorts of weird cases going on and wasn't reliable. I ended up having to turn it off to get texts for short-message texts from Google itself. I did some digging and since those came through a different channel somehow they were getting dropped by one of the systems and weren't getting flagged as needing to be delivered to me.
My wife also had three account entities for the same name in the Google system and sometimes her reply would get sent to a new chat. So about once a week my history with her would start fresh.
However, I agree that hangouts has been my preferred chat application for a long time and I'm disappointed how hard it is to get into the siloed worlds that a lot of chat apps have these days.
I had something similar to this happen a year or two ago. Messaged not showing up, or silently showing up later, and generally from one or two people of those I used hangouts with. In my case it was either a separate app that still thought it was the default SMS application (so Messages was default for SMS, but Hangouts was still set up to be integrated with SMS, or possibly it went weird if Messages was running even if Hangouts was the default SMS app), and once I disabled the old app, I got much more consistent behavior.
Hangouts itself was supposed to be the "look at all the stuff we can do if we abandon XMPP" rewrite. And it's only three years old. How can they need to do it again?
That's exactly why I don't use browser-only IM clients. I don't want to keep open a full-fledged browser only to stay online when something much less would be sufficient. Ideally, a IM should offer a broad list of solutions: web-based, desktop native clients, mobile apps, and whatever else one might think about. One size fits all is only a sure way to self limit the adoption of your IM solution.
I didn't want a second app running at all times in the background when my goal was to minimize Facebook usage when possible.
Now I have to jump through hoops to check messages every once in a while on my phone because they make it so they won't show up on mobile unless you install their secondary app or switch to a desktop user agent.
So now I just check messages once or twice a week on desktop and use their service even less often.
Once they add a Windows or Linux client I'll give Allo a try.
To me it's a bit distracting to abruptly interrupt a coding session and pull out my phone. Lately I've been trying to minimize distractions and stay in a terminal or development IDE as much as possible. I mentally view distractions similar to latency when accessing memory, something like:
Look up info in terminal or IDE - comments within code, man pages, etc. <===> register access
Desktop applications - PDF, Powerpoint slides, IM, etc. <===> L1 cache hit
Google something (often results in reading articles, HN!, etc.) <===> L2 cache hit
Phone usage (apps, calls, etc.) <===> Memory access
In person chat (prone to rants/complaining, tangents, etc.) <===> Disk access
Meetings <===> Tape based storage :)
Google something (often results in reading unrelated articles, "link dives", etc.) <=====> Cache miss (?)
bogg 120 # consumed 120 calories
bogg -120 biking # exercised 120 calories while biking
Once the command line portion is finished I plan to do a Show HN and hopefully people start using it.
Instead, it seems to be preferred that you simply upvote the comment instead of replying.
My point is my strange use-case (an annotated map) was an artifact I could assemble at a desktop from pre-existing bits I already had to hand, but with (current) mobile so many degrees of freedom are removed. Unless someone has (1) identified a mass need exactly the same as yours, and (2) made an app that does exactly that you are out of luck.
So true. And even if there was the need, and the app was made, you would never be able to find it in the app store without knowing it's exact name.
While this may be particularly true of mobile right now, I feel the above statement is, and has always been, true of software in general.
It's still early days for mobile, despite the amazing capability that's already there. It will get there eventually.
Mobile has replaced a lot of the way people spend time but for my interest and needs desktop is king. I don't watch movies on my desktop (YouTube yes) but I also don't do video editing and data science on a phone.
I couldn't go back for anything. I simply couldn't. I have a fairly light and portable laptop with a 13" screen that I carry around from time to time, and it's a vastly more constrained computing experience.
Also, with the growing trend of 'cord-cutting' i think more and more people are hooking their laptops up to their TVs and watching netflix and youtube that way. Though the trend in that space seems to be pointing more toward curated ecosystems like roku, apple tv, etc.
But i think eventually for pretty much anything else the hardware and software will reach a point where you can dock your phone into some cradle and that will be your desktop environment also - this has been tried and failed many times, but its usually because the performance just isnt there to be competitive with real computers.
I have been doing this for some time now. My laptop hooked up to my TV serves me for gaming (helps that a lot of PC games support controllers now), consuming content and music all without being crippled by consumer hardware restrictions.
Another thing I find annoying is we went from mobile first to mobile only for a lot of things. The point of mobile first was to ensure that the less capable devices were not second rate citizens to desktop. Not that they are the only thing customers will use to access services.
For the tasks we do >50% of the time, maybe. But no way it's better for >50% of the tasks.
On that topic, when is the inbox app replacing the gmail app?
Maybe never and that's good, given that sometimes I cannot download attachments with the inbox app that I can happily download from the old gmail app right away.
Too bad they killed SMS history combining.
In Google's thinking, the whole IT stack is Google cloud-based, and in the long term, people having "different desktop devices" isn't the right way to go.
Yes, this is overstatement for sarcastic effect, but the trend seems to be real....
From articles/reviews of the app from official publications, Google is saying a Desktop app is in the works, it's just not ready yet.
There are already good text messaging apps. For a general messaging solution, I don't want something tied down exclusively to my phone. If the emphasis is on photo sharing (e.g., Snapchat), then that can still make sense. But if the emphasis is just on text, then I want to be able to use a desktop or web app whenever I'm using a laptop or desktop. Not being able to do so is honestly a dealbreaker for me.
I love Google Music but there is no desktop client for it and without a desktop client integration with hardware keys or caching/downloading/syncing music like spotify or iTunes is impossible.
It's the same story with Google Photos. I love it but they decided to shutdown picasa web albums and I don't think they'd ever build a desktop client.
Google operates differently from the rest. It's not for people like us who use a desktop/laptop.
This is why open protocols exist, ffs...
Of course now that Facebook owns Whatsapp and has decided (again) to show users what fools they where and who is the boss, all the more reasons to promote Telegram, matrix, irc etc ;-)
My hands are big, and I've always hated writing on phones. On my computer I can blast away messages on my glorious mechanical keyboard.
Hopefully we'll see chat sync, SMS support, Google Voice support, Desktop App in the pipeline.
Messenger - if you're referring to the Android app - was just an SMS app from the start and nobody expected anything more from it
I'm sitting here all day long at work. I do not like reaching for my phone and typing long messages on there.
I have also started using Wire for the same reason, and even better, since it offers end-to-end encryption by default.
WhatsApp does not run on tablets... period.
Apple runs on Intelligent Design. You have a room full of geniuses who decide what to build, make sure it fits perfectly into their overall product portfolio with minimal overlap or cannibalization, spend years in a dark secret room building it until it's perfectly polished, and then do a big-bang launch.
Google on the other hand, runs on evolution. You've got tens of thousands of smart people all over the company, each with their own cool ideas and visions. Director #1 decides it would be cool to have a single unified messaging/video app that works across all platforms; Director #2 decides it would be cool to have a messaging app that's perfectly customized for mobile phones and Random-Guy #3 decides to do a 20℅ project on a messaging app that integrates AI functionality. Instead of trying to pick a winner, and telling everyone else to abandon their projects, Google allows all 3 visions to play themselves out on a small scale, and then doubles down on the winner. Rather than having a perfect product portfolio like Apple, Google is almost like an incubator, full of interesting ideas and projects, even if they lack the structure that comes with Central Planning.
The downside of course, is brand confusion and dilution. People looking for a messaging app, and not having the time to explore all options thoroughly, will have a hard time figuring out which Google-messaging-app to go with. If they pick a non-optimal one, it's going to hurt the Google brand in their eyes. But the upside is innovation. Allowing multiple ideas to play themselves out at the same time, allows for so much more innovation, experimentation and iteration. And ultimately, I think those are the qualities that Google wants to prioritize.
Like, when Unilever launch a new detergent, they give it a totally separate brand. If it fails, they drop it quietly, and if it succeeds they can roll it out worldwide.
I wish Google would do the same. Launch this as 'allo', with the fact that it's from alphabet buried in the small print. Once it's been doing well for a couple of years, they can think about pulling it into the Google brand and pushing it to every user in the world.
Dumb dumb dumb.
Like they're doing with Hangouts now. No real new features have appeared in years.
If they took this approach it would require a much more concerted marketing strategy.
Disney has Miramax for films that don't fit under the Disney brand.
Toyota has the Scion brand for quirky, weird car designs.
Google could have a brand for experimental apps that they're not sure about.
for example, "Google Allo" could have just been released as "Allo", separate website and everything, and if Google feels it's working out and is the future of their messaging platform, eventually officially bring it in to the Google ecosystem. sort of like a buyout
And now it is dead.
That's what Facebook did.
> and then doubles down on the winner
…I'm not so sure about that step ;-)
What a clusterfuck of a company.
It wasn't a mistake, it was deliberate with the intention to lock in users.
But, as the saying goes, "the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry".
Google really does have a really skittish habit of acquisitions, creations, and closures. Remember 'buzzing' with your email? Remember Wave, the product that not even Google knew what to do with? Having a large assortment of applications in your portfolio isn't what is being criticized when calling Google a "clusterfuck", it's the strangeness by which this portfolio is managed. Products rise and fall seemingly without a lot of warning. Some are integrated into others, others are heavily promoted while others are left to fester. With Facebook's acquisitions, they mostly are left to run on their own, just under Facebook control with Facebook slowly sliding their tendrils into each app. (We see this with Whatsapp, Instagram is overrun with ads), but the products themselves aren't integrated or changed dramatically for the end user.
With Google, it's really difficult to get excited or really heavily invested in products that aren't called Gmail because it's just really hard to tell what the product is going to be doing even half a year down the line, or if it will even exist. This isn't "like all other products", this is a statement based off of how Google historically has operated.
It's great that Google is willing to take risks, but they keep pushing these new ventures as having re-invented the wheel and all of the ventures require quite a bit of buy-in from the end-users; if it fails for Google, they write it off since they can. End users are left with a obsolete product they likely intended to use for a heck of a lot longer.
So yeah, when you have Google releasing new apps that compete with already existing Google Apps (as well as a multitude of other similar apps from other companies), I think it's fair to wonder what is going on. Even if there is a strategy, I'm not convinced that it's much more than "let's see if people like this better than ____", which isn't exactly a winning strategy in my book.
Allo/Duo just don't really seem to offer much that doesn't already exist, and their release makes me suspicious about whether or not their current message/video/voice service, Hangouts, is about to get axed or left in the dust or what.
No one is saying that the clusterfuck isn't valuable, profitable, or useful. They're just saying it's a clusterfuck.
The LA freeway system is a clusterfuck, but without it the city wouldn't work. We can still criticize LA's lack of a good transportation system, and recognize that something more organized would be, well, better.
Instagram and WhatsApp were in hindsight superb purchases since the network effects have turned out to be far stronger than I think most people ever expected. Likewise splitting out Messenger makes so much sense since companies are now targeting it for their AI/Bot strategies.
Their strategy seems to be throwing stuff at the wall and trying to get something to stick.
Also YouTube was already the dominant player (beating google video) by the time google acquired it. It wasn't built by google
And WhatsApp is an independent company.
It makes zero sense to compare it to Google which is absolutely a mess.
Google tore down the federation on purpose, with a configuration change. Rumour has it that it was a spam response.
There's an interesting similar spam campaign going on right now in email, BTW. https://wordtothewise.com/2016/09/ongoing-subscription-form-...
Of course Hangouts had potential too. And then Slack came along and ate their lunch on the business side. It's really kind of ridiculous that every single organization that I know of that uses Google Apps has decided to ignore Hangouts and use Slack instead. How shitty must your free group chat client be that your customers are paying to replace it...
I feel like Google is my corporate spirit animal because we operate the exact same why. We both like to start super cool side projects, get 70% of the way through it and then just completely lose interest.
That's a killer feature..
Maybe it's not quite what I am thinking though. I can't tell if the video preview is live or if it's something recorded before the call is made.
As long as the person on the other end knows that he's on-camera, I think it's NBD. The trick is ensuring that eh really does know that, and isn't picking his teeth, washing his hands &c.
I like the idea for video calls too.
From the calling end, the person just sees that you didn't pick up, right? So he wouldn't know that you declined because of the preview.
I'm often surprised how many people don't know that Messages semi-supports Hangouts (not implying that you don't)..
Obviously things like video chat don't work, so it's more like what Google Talk used to be, but it's better than keeping 2 apps open.
Voice is basically deprecated
Hangouts is enterprise
Allo and Duo compete with Whatsapp/iMessage and Facetime/Skype respectively
- Facebook Messenger combines all the functionality of Allo and Duo.
- Whatsapp already has voice calling and is adding video soon (so I read on the internet)
- iMessage and Facetime integrate in IOS much better than Google Duo does. In IOS, you go to a contact and press facetime. On Android, you go to a contact... then go back out to Duo and call them.
WeChat, of course, does everything that all these apps will ever do - as of many years ago.
Care to elaborate? I'm having trouble picturing what you mean. Long form with styling?
I wonder if WeChat will try to push the service more outside of China?
To me hangouts looks like a competitor to Skype only, at this time.
And Apple doesn't really treat Facetime as an app.
It's a separate app on the iPhone, no?
Upshot now if you use xmpp like you always did it's received as sms which is probably not what you wanted. Thanks google.
So get into bed with them by all means, but don't be suprised once you're tied up they flip you over.
If they made the bloody thing properly encrypted end to end all the time I could forgive them for their blatant bait and switch, for keeping everyone's email searchable by the nsa in gmail (whether you use it or not, your mail is there) and all the rest. But no, surveillance is what google do and they're addicted to it.
Do no evil, yeah they announced they dropped that, didn't they?
That's why they added it. Now they can market it as "we have encryption too", but it's so out of the primary experience that not many will bother with it. E2E has become a checkmark to list, because most don't care about the most important part - how it works.
It's similar with Facebooks secret messages, where the secret messages are apart from regular ones.
Lets face it: the only thing this was built is Google collecting data to feed the "Google assistant".
Why on earth would you re-use the same term when naming two things with similar (thus easily confused) consumer-visible attributes but completely different security guarantees?!
Chrome: "Won't save your (porn) history"
Allo: "features like discreet notifications and message expiration" (ie, for sending naked pics)
The transport layer security is great too, but for a lot of people "message expiration" is the key feature.
It could be different for shared computers, but, I think, for porn browsing on one's own hardware, incognito mode is more about having a separate (ephemeral) browser profile, so you aren't accidentally sharing your kinks on Facebook and Google won't (visibly, at least) associate it with your main browsing profile and won't show you relevant ads there.
A comparable feature for the IM world would be "alter ego"/pseudonymous mode, where your contacts aren't provided with your identity information (google account/phone numbers/etc - not even your "normal" name or nickname), but a throw-away identities, yet you still have a convenience of using a single app. Not really private in a sense your favorite TLA won't know you, but good enough in a sense your peers won't know you. I don't think any IM system does that, without setting up separate accounts.
I mean, "self-destructing" messages weren't there in a lot of systems, and users perfectly know how to delete SMS or emails they don't want to keep - and saving the ones they do. Not to say "message expiration" is a myth (haven't they learned it with Snapchat already?)
Maybe that's just my view of things, though.
Google backs off on previously announced Allo privacy feature (http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/21/12994362/allo-privacy-mess...)
Performance for privacy - LOL
"Your chats are end-to-end encrypted and can only be seen by you and the person you're chatting with. Google can't read any of your messages, so you won't see any Smart Reply or Google Assistant features."
So basically at Google encryption is a separate feature and come at the cost of the others cool features. This combined with the confusion between "incognito mode" and "porn mode" may contribute to a slow adoption of crypto-features in Allo IMHO...
To get all of them to stay silent, and to evade analysis of the binary is, if not impossible, simply not worth whatever they could get out of reading my messages (esp. considering their uninterrupted stream of emails to read).
It's also why the concept of "brands" makes more sense than may are willing to admit: a blatant lie such as this would probably be worse for google than VWs little problem. Reading someone's private stuff is just bound to rouse more emotions than whatever comes out of the back of your car.
Well they seem awfully quiet about all the privacy invading stuff Google does, considering the number you claim they're in.
"Allo messages will still be encrypted between the device and Google servers, and stored on servers using encryption that leaves the messages accessible to Google’s algorithms."
"The decision will also have significant consequences for law enforcement access to Allo messages. By default, Allo messages will now be accessible to lawful warrant requests, the same as message data in Gmail and Hangouts and location data collected by Android. "
> Like Hangouts and Gmail, Allo messages will still be encrypted between the device and Google servers, and stored on servers using encryption that leaves the messages accessible to Google’s algorithms.
- Incognito messages will not be logged, and will be encrypted end-to-end.
- Non-incognito messages will transit over SSL, and be stored on Google's servers in an encrypted form that they will have access to (presumably this "encryption" is to prevent hackers gaining a DB dump from getting everything in plaintext).
- Non-incognito messages will be logged indefinitely, unless a user explicitly deletes them. (This is a change from what was previously announced at Google I/O)
Correct me if I'm missing something.
> But we went a step beyond this and we created a mode within Google Allo called Incognito (h/t Chrome).
It's another dark pattern from an unscrupulous company.
Personally, I like Duo because I can talk to my partner with video even though my partner is on Android and is a bit of a technophobe.
The almost-too-simple UI is much easier for my partner to use than Hangouts, and Skype is a dog. I also do not use Facebook.
Google, like Apple now, and like Microsoft before it, is playing catch-up to Facebook and arguably has been since Google+. It's like Hollywood: remakes are far from innovative and are loathed by many who liked the originals or who crave fresh material, but a remake is much easier to get through the boardroom and easier to make profitable. Google should be pushing the boundaries but it's afraid of tarnishing its credibility with potentially bad decisions. They also want to appear active I suppose, and to collect what data they can from people who are likely to be loyal to a Google competitor to Facebook.
I think Google should be thinking doing more than buying up tech talent in acquihires and inflating an already bloated app ecosystem that threatens what business they already have, but I'm not a business person.
> All I see is a tool to make me the product.
I think you're right, and you're not paranoid at all.
I'm now using only open source tools both on PC and on Android (courtesy of F-Droid), switched from Gmail to Mailbox.org and from Chrome to Firefox with all privacy settings turned on (no tracking, no long term cookies etc.), switched from GDrive and Dropbox to my own private cloud solution (using a NAS + Owncloud), started using PGP for email, and currently trying to get my friends to use Signal for instant messaging.
First world problems? Maybe, but I don't like to be sold in exchange for free-of-charge services.
Switched from Chrome to Firefox as well. I switched to Microsoft cloud products ( Office, 'SkyDrive' or whatever it's called now ) to get away from Google, or at least from having so many eggs in the Google basket.
I don't like being sold either. It makes me feel like a slave.
why not just use one of the many other apps that does provide end-to-end encryption, if it's something you want? Some feature sets are simply not compatible. If people keep insisting on end-to-end, google will implement it and then scan all your replies on either end and send them to their servers after the end instead of intercepting them, so they can tick off the E2E box. It's better for everybody's privacy to simply accept that some apps aren't private than trying to shoehorn privacy into apps that are antithetical to it.
It is just a definition of what "end" means. The phone? The app? The screen? Your eyes? With real end-to-end encryption nobody should be able to read over your shoulder and it should be delivered directly to your retina.
Note that such an assistant can itself be connected to the internet again.
Personally I'm not against a setup like this. I have encrypted communication through corporate servers, but would like to open up my end to this or other parties.
Edit: I didn't mean you didn't say this already, just wanted to explore the point you already made.
They could totally have made assistant run locally, but it's easier for them to run it on a server:
- It saves battery to run big computations on something that does not run on a battery (their servers);
- They can use techniques that require more processing power;
- They can patch whenever and whatever they want, since it's all on-premises for them; and
- And as a bonus, you know what people are interested in and talking about.
Most privacy minded people probably wouldn't install it anyway, it being closed source and by Google, so the few that you send away by this is a small number. And it adds network dependency and latency, but it's a messaging app - you need network connectivity anyway.
So I can totally see why they do it. I can also tell I'm never going to install this Google-run assistant and why I'm going to tell everyone to stay away.
- In real life you have no privacy, but still you don't think about it (white pages, community hall inscriptions, driving license, medical history, ...), apart of white pages try to unsubscribe from any of them and see what happens. Internet made it just easier to track you.
- your safety is based on 2 things your habits and the peers that know you and are willing to lend a hand (family, neighbors, friends ...)
- what makes me feel secure about Google tools, is his business model, if they have a breach and expose people's data, they simply bankrupt, so their business relays heavily in security. (as soon as you enable 2 time factor, it becomes incredible difficult to hack you)
- what I don't like of them, they are in EEUU soil and I'm European, so I don't know if I could eventually get into trouble (like is happening in Facebook, they simply don't listen to European cases about cyberbulling, something I didn't read yet from Google, maybe because they are not so popular, maybe because they are truly Not Evil).
- so yes, I'm a product, and it also unlocks me to easily backup and access my family photos, that I can share via chromecast, or get my mails free from non nice spam and eventually find nice new products and know that I can click without exposing myself too much.
- I do have kids, and what comforts me, I can delegate to Google the block of certain images/sites thanks to their advance AI, still is not perfect so by the time they start, I'll also keep an eye. It is different to explain something bad that he just accidentally found, that place them out of his way until he has the age to understand it.
- and don't get started with the zero days exploits, the wrong architecture of some open source apps, and even the abandonware you have out there for free.
At the end, you need to trade something because one person alone can't get everything, and trust between peers is essential. And money made that trust easy, don't trust people, trust that they want the money :)
so yes, I'm a product, and it also unlocks me to easily backup and access my family photos, that I can share via chromecast, or get my mails free from non nice spam and eventually find nice new products and know that I can click without exposing myself too much.
With all their services google gets to know most of your thoughts. You don't care. It's okay, I don't blame you. But please do not tell others "there is no privacy" just because you threw yours away for some services that make your life a bit more comfortable.
maybe because they are truly Not Evil
'You have to fight for your privacy or you will lose it' - Eric Schmidt.
We (meaning mostly you) lost it a long time ago already. They sometimes show their evil face - you just don't remember/know/care.
delegate to Google the block of certain images/sites thanks to their advance AI
This is kinda 1984 7.0 - just wait for them enabling it for everyone. Page ranks can/could decide elections already - do you really want them having so much power over everyone? Just because their search results are a bit better (read: personalised) than duckduckgo/etc. ? I sometimes really understand the need for russian/chinese firewalls. Even Canada (reminder: member of the 5 eyes) refuses to send their country-internal internet traffic through the USA even it would be cheaper and faster at the same time. It's forbidden by law.
At the end, you need to trade something because one person alone can't get everything, and trust between peers is essential. And money made that trust easy, don't trust people, trust that they want the money :)
In my eyes, you trade away far more than they give you.
Your second point is quite vast to reply here, but one example: think one second of a daughter that she wants to find her favorite princess in the internet without filter you find quite some porn actress with those names, and because are popular ... paaaam first place. Now how I explain to an infant what those girls are doing, wouldn't be easier to wait until she gets the maturity and I can explain better?
The last point, is my opinion nothing more. Is always a trade, it depends how much you will trade.
The databases you mention have serious judicial requirements (in EU) and no free access by a company. Leaks of course happen, but they are treated seriously and are news items.
If Google had a breach, they'd do the same as everyone: cover it up or PR it down and fix it. They won't go bankrupt over even a string of break-ins.
There is less reason to trust them as they are an American company. In fact NSA had free reign over their data at some time and they didn't know about it.
While I would trust them much more than a random startup, trusting their database handling is different. Local, non collated data is often safest. Plus you're not a big target as a single person most of the time.
I might got wrong the reasons why Google is secure, but I found it convincing
I wouldn't disagree with a statement that Google pays a lot of attention to security, but I doubt it would go bankrupt if there were a breach. There are many big companies that have suffered data breaches but haven't gone bankrupt yet. They just move on with some impact and/or some compensation to their customers, like identity theft protection. <insert any "free+you're the product" quotes here>
With Siri you can actually mix languages. So you can ask in French about an English film title. I don't know how good Alexa is about these kinds of things. Considering that it's only for the US, I can't know.
I don't know if Google Photos is running circles around Photos. I know a new version just came out with macOS Sierra. I just read an article today over on Six Colours that praised its search capabilities. I don't use Google Photos or Apple's. I haven't had a camera in years and only got my first cell phone this year (I was given an iPhone 5).
I completely rule Alexa out from these kinds of discussions until Amazon bothers to sell it elsewhere. It's been a consistent issue with Amazon. It took several years before we got the Kindle in Canada, we were promised Amazon's MP3 store, but we're still waiting. Our Amazon Prime only covers shipping, not any of the books or video.
Siri does what I need it to do on my phone, but I don't really ask for much. I mainly use it for timers and creating appointments. Those have all worked perfectly, even when I'm standing right next to my kitchen fan or the speakers of my stereo.
As for Google Photos, it makes mistakes, false positives mostly (as a funny example, for my photos so far it consistently thinks cats are dogs, although it also recognizes the same cats correctly) and sometimes it's too “eager” (“cars” will produce results where cars should be but are not actually in the photo). Sometimes it makes bizarrely trivial mistakes considering how smart it is generally: it categorized photos of human cadavers and anatomy specimens I made at the local university institute of anatomy as “Christmas”, I guess because they were made on Christmas day. But it will correctly find true positives. It also correctly visually recognizes notable places globally (that is, without geotags) and various things, concepts etc. even if they're a completely marginal subject in a photo. One thing that impressed me was a cat video it edited out of multiple clips with almost perfect music some 5-10 minutes after I uploaded the first items and started using it.
The post about Apple's Photos I found linked on Six Colours, but it's on Macworld . In it, he searches for a zebra and it gave his few photos that he took of zebras at the zoo. So, that worked well, but the search for dogs made the same mistake as you state Google Photos made (cats mistaken for dogs). So, I think that Apple's Photos is probably somewhat close to Google Photos, but maybe not quite as good. It's not exactly Google running circles around it.
Tired of feeling like a product.