Google’s attempt at making a unified messaging platform is probably one of the longest running jokes in the tech space, and as much as I love Google, there’s really no excusing how poorly they’ve handled the situation in the past few years. They almost had something with Google Hangouts, but not before half-abandoning it and trying to make Allo and/or Duo the de facto standard.
All of that’s not even bothering to talk about things like Gmail, or more obscure services with chat functionality like Google+ and Google Groups and the default Android Messages application installed on Android devices. Oh, Google Voice is still a thing, too.
So what’s the solution when your messaging implementation is a straight up mess? Why, you ditch all of them and try to develop something else, of course!
Google’s next initiative will be called Chat, and to be clear, it’s not another new messaging app. Whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you. What Chat is, though, is a standardized implementation of RCS features that will be baked right into Android Messages (and Samsung Messages, if you’re using a Galaxy device) to provide a cohesive messaging solution to all Android users, complete with a ton of features and SMS fallback.
The features will include standard RCS stuff, like read receipts, full resolution photos and videos, and better group text support. If you’re messaging someone without Chat enabled, then you’ll simply send regular SMS messages again. Sound like iMessage? Just a little bit.
There are still drawbacks, though. Since RCS has to be enabled on the carrier’s end Google won’t be able to force this through on their own, although there are some carriers that have already enabled the features. They’ll still need to get all carriers on board, though, and some carriers, like Verizon, would probably rather get users into their own featured messaging apps instead of handing the keys over to Google and OEMs. Third-party apps also likely won’t really be able to take advantage of everything Chat has to offer.
Since the messages are still delivered over SMS and through a carrier network, that’s also a thumbs down for security, unlike iMessage. So for anyone that relies on encrypted messaging services, Chat won’t solve your problem like iMessage will.
Google hopes to have this setup and going by the end of the year, but they’ve got carriers and manufacturers to fight along the way. Keep an eye out, and expect something new from Google’s messaging team sometime in the latter half of 2019.
source: The Verge