Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Google believes RCS could be Android's secret weapon in war against iMessage

RCS Universal Profile List List of RCS Universal Profile Supporters. Source GSMA
Sherri Watson | 20 April, 2018, 15:18

Google is switching gears in the messaging space once again, and will now focus on a new service called Chat, which will try and improve the standard SMS app on Android phones. Previous efforts involved a whole bunch of not so successful apps like - Android Messages, Hangouts, Google Duo, and the company's latest Allo. It will finally allow Google to compete with iMessage, giving users the option of sending rich communications to people whose handsets and carriers support the standard, but falling back to SMS when this is not possible. In doing so it hopes to take the surefire nature of SMS - anyone can send anyone else with a phone a message without them requiring a specific account or app - and bring it up-to-date with all the features modern chat demands.

For many years, Android users have lamented the lack of a simple, user-friendly and well-designed messaging experience such as Apple's iMessage. According to The Verge, Google is trying again to fix its messaging mess, and this time they are trying something different. Unlike other chat applications online, such as Telegram or Signal, Chat does not have end-to-end encryption and is thus less secure.

Google has been trying hard lately to deliver a better messaging experience that could stand against established giants like Facebook Messenger, Apple's iMessage and Whatsapp. Unlike WhatsApp where the messages of uses are end to end encrypted, the messages over Chat will not be under any kind of security thus it will make user data prone to malicious interception and sometimes also legal intervention. This is the only disappointing feature inside the new Chat app by Google.

Samsung is also said to support Chat services in its default messaging app.

Sabharwal did stress that the arrival of Chat doesn't mean that Allo will be shut down anytime soon, and he said that Google is "continuing to support the product".

Chat is a carrier-based service, and Google has been working to ensure that every carriers' Chat service plays nicely with each other. Now though, 55 carriers, 11 OEMs, and two operating system providers have promised to adopt the new technology or make the necessary switch for it. The features of Chat - essentially Google's own name for RCS - will be built into Android's own default messaging tool. If it doesn't replace the now atrocious SMS, it can do nothing but watch Facebook and Apple run away with text messaging. Google has also appointed a new executive on this project, Anil Sabharwal, who led the team that created the Google Photos previously.

As with Apple's iMessage system, if the intended recipient does not have a Chat-compatible device, messages will be sent via the old SMS system instead.