Google to Introduce 'Chat' for Android to Compete with Apple's iMessage

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The service, dubbed Chat, is not a Google messaging app but will run on Android phones through partnerships with dozens of mobile carriers around the world. While Apple users have iMessage, those on Google's OS haven't had something as reliable or convenient to use.

Chat, the name of the new service, according to The Verge, will link up with the regular text message, and will be available on all Android smartphones. Google's long list of fallen apps can't hold a candle to it. RCS (Rich Communication Services) is an evolution of SMS that sends content over the data network. Apple's default iPhone texting app comes with end-to-end encryption for messages sent as iMessages. Google has been reportedly working with telecom operators in the USA, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to expedite RCS implementation on "Chat". RCS uses existing data connections, meaning that it should be able to offer the same features as the competition. At the end of the day, the users fall back to the native SMS app on their devices.

Second, with Allo, Hangouts and Duo all still running, will we see them all accessible from Chat, with cross-compatibility? Google has spent almost a decade attempting to fix a rotating cast of messaging apps.

With Chat, Google hopes to modernize texting with all the features we typically see in messaging apps such as read receipts, typing indicators, full-resolution images and video, and group texts. But it will be backward compatible with SMS, so if the user you are chatting with doesn't have a Chat-enabled client then the messages will be sent over standard SMS.

You'll still have access to other encrypted chat apps on Android, including WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal, although none of them will ever replace the default SMS app on your handset.

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Like WhatsApp and iMessage, Chat will also have a desktop interface for texting.

Anil Sabharwal is the leader of the Chat project and is also the man behind the well-received Google Photos app. The company recently introduced a new video messaging feature for "Duo" that would let users capture and share video messages when their friends can not answer their call.

With the new communication protocol i.e. RCS, Google said that they have over 55 carriers worldwide who are ready to use the RCS technology and the new communication protocol.

As for when that happens, Google is expecting that many carriers will follow through this year (2018), but admits that some might dawdle. As of now, Samsung will support the RCS via their own messaging app. It's called Chat, and it's going to make your texts more colorful, lively and interactive.

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