Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Google trying to fix Android messaging problem through Chat

RCS Universal Profile List List of RCS Universal Profile Supporters. Source GSMA
Kayla Schwartz | 20 April, 2018, 15:19

Through some of our APK Insight teardowns, we knew Google was working on including RCS messaging through its Google Messages app on Android.

Launched in September 2016, Allo is an instant messaging mobile app for the Android and iOS mobile Operating Systems (OS), with a web client available on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera browsers. As such, Google wants to improve this long-used technology, which turned 25 in December, with features found in popular messaging apps; this includes read receipts, full-resolution images and video, typing indicators, improved group chats, and more.

Google seems to be intended for fixing its messaging platform, the company has announced that they would be shifting its entire research and development team who are now working on the current Allo platform to start focusing and developing this Chat service. It is based on Rich Communication Services (RCS), a new standard which will eventually replace SMS.

Google is pushing for a new bit of technology to replace SMS for chatting. And, that's why Google has planned to take yet another shot in mobile messaging space with Google Chat. However, unlike most of the prominent messaging apps, Chat won't have end-to-end encryption. Unlike Allo, Hangouts, and Android Messages, Chat will not be an app.

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Google's special sauce in this effort is the Android Messages app, the company's default text message app, which is bundled with the majority of smartphones not made by Samsung or Apple. This is the only disappointing feature inside the new Chat app by Google.

"The GSMA has been working for nearly a decade to foster broader adoption of RCS as a way to compete with third-party instant messaging and voice apps, but adoption over the years has been patchy", said Raghu Gopal from CCS Insight. The features of Chat - essentially Google's own name for RCS - will be built into Android's own default messaging tool. The cost of sending a message could also come out of the user's data plan, meaning it could be much cheaper than SMS, although exact pricing will be determined by each carrier. If it doesn't replace the now atrocious SMS, it can do nothing but watch Facebook and Apple run away with text messaging.

The new Chat app by Google would be a fully featured new generation communication app which will be loaded with all the much needed feature of an ideal Chat app.

The newly formed Chat team will be managed by Google executive Anil Sabharwal who was also behind Google Photos. This means that if a recipient isn't on Chat, the message will be converted to SMS/MMS, which is what Apple's iMessage is already doing. Hangouts and Allo are some of the platforms that the search giant has developed over the years, but has not quite caught up with alternatives. Currently, 55 carriers and 11 OEMs worldwide have signed on to support RCS.

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