Google recently (or should we say finally) released ‘allo’ and ‘duo’, an answer to facebook’s messenger, snapchat, wechat, whatsapp and all the others. In this article our view on ‘allo’, the chat engine.
Having taken notice of it’s features, ‘allo’ seems rather clearly focussed on interactions of the casual user. It offers some really cool features, one of which kinda reminds me of the comic books, in which important words are featured in bold or in a bigger font. More of a teenager thing, I guess, but that’s good enough.
As to be expected, it bears ‘Google intelligence’ as they call it, here used to learn to anticipate your answers in certain situations. Not sure yet what awkward conversations this might lead to, but I guess instagram will be full of screenshots in no time. More interesting is that you can search ‘on the go’ during a conversation. You can ask voiced questions to Google during your chat, and the answers will appear on the screen. Hold your breath.
As for security, like most recent apps, you can have secret conversations that are erased automatically, and for other conversations, there is encryption – if you don’t forget to turn it on. Obviously you have to understand that Google will analyse all your conversations before they delete them. No problem, right?
Allo only works on your mobile, so no desktop to mobile communication possible, something I consider a weakness.
Bottom line, it clearly is not business-oriented, it is not really completely safe to contemporary standards. and integrates a bunch of functions that can lead to embarassment. The whole thing makes me wonder who Google has spent all this money developing it for. The government?
It actually has gone publicly into US politics for a while now, because the concept of self-driving cars does need a lot of lobbying to get approved, since potentially, a lot of jobs could be lost all over the world. Therefor, politicians need to be convinced of the economical benefits that would stand across the social massacre that this innovative concept could potentially cause.
Since such major market changes are a known historical fact, one can not really oppose it. The industrial revolution changed agriculture forever, the technological and communication revolutions reshaped the way business is done today, so why not a transportation revolution? Surely the number of cars and trucks currently on the roads proves the necessity. Calculations estimate that just about 10% of the current number of cars would be needed to take care of most of the traffic if public robot-cars would replace all current cars. That makes Google’s move sure worth the while ecologically.
But what if Tech giants start mingling with international politics in a way that lives would be at stake through war and terrorism? Wikileaks recently released some of the Clinton emails, which state that Google has teamed up with Al Jazeera to help the US and Israel to destabilize Lybia, Syria and Iraq. More recently, Google’s mobile voice assistant refused to help when asked about the Clinton emails, which clearly proves which side they are on in the coming elections.
We already know that Facebook actively delays and denies you selected posted messages from friends. They actually have total control over what is shown to who and when it is shown. Google can influence the search results any way they want. They actually put in place an app for those countries that would help in overthrowing the Syrian government counting the number of defectors and making them public to strengthen the government opposition and encourage others to follow. Al Jazeera even won an award for that. Given the bloodshed it lead to, a dubious choice.
Through history, there have always been companies that benefited from war. Some of the largest companies in the world thank their growth through business with Hitler’s Germany, and post WWII with anyone else to build back up the countries that were ravaged by the occupation.
But the real question is not if it is ethically correct for a company to do business with countries at war. I think only dealers of arms and hazardous chemicals are to reconcile with that. It is whether a company actively helping a nation to start a (civil) war still is ethically correct. And that is what Google, Facebook and Al Jazeera likely are guilty of. Makes me wonder if Eric Schmidt and friends ever think about the bloodbath and the misery of millions of people that resulted from their participation.
As a once owner of a small business, I very well know the needs of them. They are very different from larger scale businesses, and if I would have had the technology then that is available today, boy would I still have been successful now. It’s not so long ago that Google introduced Adwords Express, which was to be a dream come true for small businesses. If it would have worked properly.
The philosophy of Adwords Express is ‘fast and easy’. The problem is that however seducing this is, it doesn’t really apply to the target audience. Small businesses are just as dependent of precise keywords as big businesses. The automatic keyword generators are far from efficient enough to take control of that.
Different from big companies is that small businesses are slightly less in need of brand awareness. It really just matters locally. The result is that the clicks they get due to a weak automatic keyword generator are wasted and much more expensive than they are for big companies who have more value in branding their company.
Another issue is the geographical location. Consumers often just want the first shop nearby. Advertisers pay to get the first spot, which is not always what the consumer wants. A conflict of interests that has always been decided in favour of the money. Is there really no way around this?
There are more issues that make Adwords Express not necessarily the best choice. The real problem with these giant corporations, is that they try to fit everything into their megastructures. Sure, they hire teams of specialised people who seem to know all about what small businesses need, did all the necessary research, but in the end, it has to fit in with the big guys.
Sometimes I wonder if it is even smart to join up with such companies, as you can be sure that your information is namelessly sold to the highest bidder, who shamelessly will open nearby if your business is strong enough to have a go at that local market.