Google is in talks with various cellular providers and ask them to start using Rich Communication Services. Will it kill SMS?
According to The Verge, Google has been recruiting the world's major mobile carriers to adopt new technology with a view to replacing SMS completely.
However, the problem was that unlike Apple - who can selectively make certain elements of their operating system available to its own services, Android is an open platform. Well, for starters, it's much more dynamic than SMS as it supports read receipts, typing indicators, group texts, and full-resolution images and video.
Google's Anil Sabharwal, a vice president of Product at the search giant, told The Verge that he wants to add Smart Replies (which Inbox, Allo and Gmail users are already familiar with), Google Assistant, and Google Photos into Chat. And if Android's messaging is to be modified in a way similar to iMessage, that means giving the same level of access to developers other than Google, which can pose serious privacy risks.
Google Chat runs on technology dubbed as Rich Communication Service (RCS), a new standard for the SMS texts. You can download Android Messages if it's not on your phone already. And from what we hear for now it seems that the Chat service that Google is preparing is going to be very different from apps like WhatsApp or even Apple's iMessage. RCS will be the target protocol of the default Messages app on Android, which The Verge quoted Sabharwal as saying: "At the end of the day. the native SMS app is where users are".
Once enabled, it promises to allow for richer and multimedia friendly messaging features found in other texting apps like iMessage and WhatsApp. RCS continues to be a carrier-owned service making the carriers final arbiters of what chat can and can't do. Allo, though a fine messaging app, couldn't manage to build a large user base. The report also makes it clear that Chat is not Google Chat per se, but rather a carrier-based effort.
If someone on a Pixel sends a message to a Samsung Galaxy S9, for instance, they can share "RCS" messages - theoretically, anyway, as Samsung is one of the companies that's signed on. That is, Google won't force all carriers and smartphone manufacturers to use a "Google service".
So will your phone support Chat out of the gate?
Whether Apple is willing to jump on to the Chat bandwagon is something that remains to be seen.
And for good reason. iMessage has read receipts, incredible visuals, a robust amount of gimmicks, and is in encrypted.