While iPhone users have had a simple and reliable solution for chat and text messaging for years in the form of iMessage, it has always been a problem for Android users. Indeed, despite repeated attempts by Google to solve this problem with various apps, the tech giant has not been successful until now.
Now, Google has decided to adopt a different approach to solving the problem and instead of developing a better app, change the rules of the game of text messaging on a global scale. The company's new solution, known as Chat, is based on a standard called the General Profile for Rich Communication Services. In fact, Text Messaging (SMS) is the default structure that everybody uses, and now Google plans to upgrade the same messaging experience to the level of other modern messaging applications on Android phones.
As part of this effort, Google will stop investing and working on its latest messaging app, Allo. Terminating this project means transferring the entire team involved with it as well as allocating all the resources related to the other application, Android Messages.
Some experts believe that this move is actually a kind of strategic retreat for this tech giant. However, another group believes that Google must first admit its failure to achieve some kind of victory.
Note that Chat is not a messaging app. In fact, you should consider it more like a new set of modern features inside an app that has already been installed on most Android phones. Simply put, Chat is a user-friendly name for the RCS communication protocol, a new standard for SMS substitution, and will automatically be enabled in the default Android messaging application, Android Messages.
By starting to use Chat, users will have plenty of features that are quite standard in other messaging applications. Some of these features include read receipts, typing indicators, full-resolution images and video, and group texts.
You have to keep one important thing in mind: Chat is an operator-based service, not a Google service. As a sign of the importance of the matter for Google, the company has spearheaded development on the new standard so that every carrier’s Chat services will be interoperable. But Chat won't have end-to-end encryption just like the SMS and follows the same legal intercept standards. In other words, Chat won't be as secure as iMessage or Signal.
If you send a message to someone who doesn't have Chat on his phone or doesn't use an Android phone, the message will automatically revert to SMS, much like what's happening on iMessage.
Therefore, it can be said that instead of continuing its effort to push Allo or create another messaging application, Google has decided to implement new features such as GIF search and Google Assistant in the default Android Messages app that runs on most Android phones. Samsung phones will also support Chat using Samsung's app.
Currently, more than 50 operators and 11 manufacturers support RCS and Google hopes that Chat can be available to a wide range of users around the world before the end of 2018. However, the activation of the service will depend on the operator's decision. On the other hand, there is still a lot of argues about chat security. Also, nobody outside of Apple already knows whether or not the company has any plan to support Chat on iMessage. Given all the above, we have to wait and see if Google can come up its desired result this time.