Google's Allo Chat App Is Built On The Signal Protocol

Allo Incognito

User privacy has always been important to many companies, but lately, privacy seems to be set at a higher priority in the scheme of things. Chat apps are ripe for this kind of protection and have since started offering it to users in the form of end-to-end encryption. More than a few messaging apps include this and deliver a more secure experience to their users, and soon enough Google’s newly announced ‘Allo’ chat app will be among them, and although Allo isn’t currently available for download, you can preregister for the app. What may not have been so obvious earlier is that Allo’s security standards are built upon the very same protocol that is used within two very popular apps that pride themselves on encryption and user security. Those two apps are Signal and WhatsApp, both of which use the Signal Protocol from Open Whisper Systems.

Of course, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Signal uses this protocol since Open Whisper Systems developed the app. You might be thinking, though, why would apps like WhatsApp and Allo use the same security protocol, and if you were asking yourself that question, it’s a good question to ask. The answer would be that the Signal Protocol is open source, so naturally other apps and services would end up using it too. Considering that Google’s Allo is using the same security protocol as Facebook’s WhatsApp, it displays how well the protocol does its job and how much faith other companies have in its security. It is also worth noting that the Signal Protocol kicks in when users are chatting with others via the incognito mode only, so end-to-end encryption is probably not available all outside of this mode.


Open Whisper Systems mentions that they have been working with Google to integrate the Signal Protocol into Allo for use when people want to chat through incognito mode for a little while, although they don’t specify any length of time for the collaboration efforts. Beyond the announcement that they’re working together and that Signal will be baked into Allo, Open Whisper Systems doesn’t divulge a whole lot else. They do, however, note that they will be sharing more details about the integration and the collaboration with Google on the app to strengthen its security once the app has launched, which doesn’t have a specified release date yet.