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Google Allo - And its Content Ratings on iOS

Google just launched their new messaging app Allo in an already overcrowded market. Now there are plenty of opinions online, that you can read, talking about what are the chances that Allo succeed, so we are not going to talk about it here.

However, when trying to download the app on iOS through App Store, an interesting thing caught my attention. The content rating that was given to this messaging app was 17+ with further click ins such as: Nudity, Profanity etc.

On the other hand, a simple comparison with WhatsApp (the debatable leader in the market), you'd realize the same has a rating of 4+.

Screenshot Dt. 23rd Sept 2016: Taken on India App Store on iPhone


Similar to PG ratings on entertainment contents, App Store has the following scale: 4+, 9+, 12+ and 17+ with the varying scales of nudity, profanity, violence and other such adult (not "child" safe) references. But its simply baffling to have such a huge gap between the content rating for two similar apps.

What could possibly be the reasons for such a huge valley of gap in between the two apps which are so similar?
  • Google Assistant? - Yes, the much awaited assistant is finally here, with the complete power and backing of Google's AI and Machine Learning behind it. Perhaps the assistant sometimes replies in a NSFW (not safe for work) or NFS (Non family safe) format.
    • In my usage of the app, the assistant seems really courteous and respectful, if anything
  • Stickers? - Allo has at the moment around 30 sticker packs made by independent artists expressing various emotions. From love to hate to monday morning blues, everything.
    • There indeed are emotions displayed more vividly, but nothing that your regular emoticons don't display, or nothing that is obscene.
Anything else? Well not really.

Honestly, if someone is old enough to own an Apple device, and have their own accounts, then they are old enough to use Google Allo, just like they would be old enough to use Apple's own iMessage. And o'course, iMessage doesn't even get a place on App Store, for it to be brought under the spotlight here.

Stifling the competition by unleveling the playing field, and favoring another organization for better synergies? Is that the game, it makes me wonder.


Disclaimer: This writeup represents my views, as a user of these products, in my capacity as an individual alone and nothing else

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