Google is finally getting an Android version of iMessage. It's called Chat

Google is finally getting an Android version of iMessage. It's called Chat

RCS will be an opt-in service through the standard Google Messages app. Google also promised to add more markets to the list of countries supporting RCS on Android phones by this year. The company is then working on providing the service itself instead of relying on telcos to do so, this means that within a short time, all Android devices will have support for Chat, whether telcos like it or not.

RCS would let you send large files and full-resolution images and videos. Even in the USA, although all carriers support RCS in some way or another, the hardware must also support RCS for that carrier. Granted, SMS messages aren't encrypted either, but a lateral move when it comes to security doesn't exactly instill confidence.

To say it's overdue is an understatement. iPhone users have had RCS-style since iOS 5, and third-party OTT services such as WhatsApp and Signal replicate RCS features as well. The company said it was "committed to finding a solution" for secure chat, however, and texts won't disappear into a void if you switch to a phone that doesn't support RCS. The option will later expand to Android users in other countries. When that happens, users will open the Android Messages app and will receive a prompt asking them if they'd like to sign up for RCS Chat, which is Google's name for the SMS replacement.

It's a big deal for Android users who have always been second-class citizens compared to their fruit-based brethren, as this will mean that the Messaging app for Android is a lot more like Apple iMessage. This is different than the way Apple automatically has iOS users opt-in to Messages.

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Carriers that directly offer RCS will handle the user's messages, according to the report, and carriers can still choose to take over from Google. Google may still surprise us, though, so all we have to do now is wait and see. How it is different from the normal text messages?

However, Sanaz Ahari, product management director for Android messages at Google, told The Verge that the team is working on solving that problem. The average USA adult owns something like four connected devices, but in Google's RCS world, only one of them (your smartphone) is worthy of receiving messages. Google pitched it as a service that the carriers will provide and not Google.

As far as data privacy goes, Google says that it will delete any messages that pass through its servers.

When a user is messaging with someone, Messages will check whether both parties have enabled RCS. This means that carriers' approval is not needed.

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