Facebook is reportedly set to introduce opt-in end-to-end encryption for Messenger, but it will mean losing some of the app’s more impressive features. The update will apparently hit this summer, offering users a choice between privacy and smart AI.
The Guardian reports that the feature could be similar to Google Allo’s Incognito Mode, which lets you switch on encryption manually. That’s not enough protection for some people—including Edward Snowden—but the company says it’s necessary for some of the app’s smarter features. For example, Allo can scan an incoming photo or message and generate a quick reply for you when encryption is off.
By comparison, Apple’s iMessage offers total end-to-end encryption automatically along with a pretty threadbare user experience. WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) recently switched on encryption as the default as well.
It sounds like Facebook’s approach will be a lot closer to Google’s. Opt-in encryption should make plenty of users happy, even if privacy-obsessed people still think it’s not enough. The company hasn’t confirmed any plans, but assuming The Guardian is right, we should see the new feature rollout in the next few months.