Last month news surfaced that Google was working to expand the features available through their Android Messages app. The improvements appear to include things like support for a web interface on a computer that syncs with Android Messages, support for chat over data networks, less reliance on carriers, and more enhancements that come with RCS like larger file sizes supported. According to some users on Reddit, the toggle for Chat on data is now showing up on some devices, possibly a sign that Google is very close to being ready to roll-out the updates to support more advanced RCS features both through the app and on Project Fi. Previously the existence was only known through teardowns of the code.
Thus far the biggest beneficiaries of the new Chat on data feature appear to be users who have Pixel phones, both generations, who are using Project Fi for their carrier. That makes some sense since Google has a greater level of control over what the network can support. Carrier support for alternatives to SMS, like RCS, has been one of the biggest challenges for Google in trying to deploy technology that could rival Apple’s iMessage.
Other users are reporting the Chat option is starting to show up in their settings, but the extent seems to vary quite a bit. One of the biggest variables appears to be whether Android Messages is set as the default messaging app. Several users are reporting that as soon as they switch Android Messages to be the default app, the chat feature settings disappear while others have the settings grayed out.
The changes appear to be showing up in the app’s interface once Messages is updated to version 2.9.051. At least on my own device using Sprint, I find the chat options are all available with Messages set as the default messaging app.
via: memoranda11 (Reddit)