What Is Google’s ‘Chat’ For Android? An RCS-based Alternative To iMessage?

google chat
Image: The Verge

Google has been working on a new messaging service called ‘Chat,’ which will be soon released by the company to enrich the messaging experience of Android users.

This won’t be the first time when Google has tried to launch a unified messaging system. The company has previously experimented in this direction with Hangouts, Duo, Allo, and Android Messages, which were not entirely successful.

Before you assume it’s another app lined up next to Google’s existing messaging apps, let me clarify that it’s not an app.

So what is Google Chat?

Think of Chat as an upgrade to the existing SMS feature we have on our Android phones. It is based on Rich Communication Services (RCS), a new standard which will eventually replace SMS.

As reported by The Verge, Google Chat will bring several standard features that are present in any other texting app like read receipts, group texts, typing indicators, full-resolution images and video, etc.

Messages sent via Chat will use data instead of SMS on your phone plan. Just like iMessage, if the recipient doesn’t have RCS enabled on their phone, they’ll receive the message in the refurbished version automatically, and if not, they’ll receive the standard SMS.

However, it is notable that unlike iMessage, Chat does not feature end-to-end encryption — quite similar to SMS which leaves your texts open to legal interception.

Since Google Chat is a carrier-based service rather than Google service, so the company is trying to convince mobile network providers around the globe into adopting this technology as a substitute to SMS.

As many as 55 carriers, 11 OEMS, and two operating system makers (Google and Microsoft) have agreed to support RCS. The tech giant is positive that many of the carriers would activate Chat services by the end of this year, but there might be some who could cause a delay.

The newly formed Chat team will be managed by Google executive Anil Sabharwal who was also behind Google Photos. He has confirmed that company is “pausing” development work on Allo to push their resources towards the new messaging system.

Also Read: Google Working On Mysterious “AltOS” For Pixelbook, Could Dual-Boot Windows: Report

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