Before all the chat apps came into picture, People depended up on SMS (Short Message Service). It originated in the year 1992, enables the users to send short text messages. It uses the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard that allows the users to send and receive messages with up to 160 alphanumeric characters.
Even though many apps like Facebook messenger, WhatsApp are available for chatting, they all use mobile data. Hence the user cannot check his messages when the mobile data is turned off. Even though WhatsApp and Facebook messenger have millions of downloads, people sometimes get back to SMS. Because, SMS is universal. It is available on all phones and it always works. But features like group conversation, gif search, stickers and other facilities available on these modern apps are not a part of the Android’s default texting app.
Google has been trying to improve the Android’s messaging experience since 2015 by introducing many apps. The list includes Google Talk, Google Plus, Google Voice, Google Allo, Google Duo, Hangouts, etc. which still couldn’t compete with iMessage, Signal or other modern messaging apps.
Now google is trying to convince all the service providers to change to a technology that will replace SMS. The standard that is used here is called RCS (Rich Communication Services). The updated version of the Android’s messages app will be called Chat. Google has made Anil Sabharwal in charge of the Chat, which makes perfect sense as he was the one who led the team that created Google Photos app.
Chat will have all the features of a standard texting app that includes group messages, read notifications and typing indicators. It has high-quality image and video sharing, which is a great improvement over the existing SMS. Google is also planning to introduce some new features for the Chat like GIF search and Google Assistant.
Chat will be using your data plan and not the SMS plan. Also, Chat will follow the same intercept standards as SMS. Hence there will be no end-to-end encryption. Whenever you text someone who doesn’t have Chat enabled on their phones, the text will be received as a normal SMS.
The Chat services will be available for the users in near future, though the timing may depend on each carrier. Google is positive that many carriers will change to RCS, but there might also be some delay.
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