Google will be dumping the current text messaging service on its Android phones and replacing it with its new service Chat.
According to The Verge Chat is based on a standard named the ‘Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services’ or RCS.
Android users have always had it tough when it comes to its messaging service, falling behind Apple’s iMessage platform and Google is hoping to make Chat as good as other messaging services.
Google will be pausing development on its other messaging project Allo, which was introduced in May 2016 alongside Duo, a video chat app. However, Allo was never as popular as other internet reliant services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
With Chat, users will be able to send GIFs, videos, turn on read receipts and create group chats. Users will be able to turn the service on and off on their device like Apple users do for iMessage with SMS replacing the service when it is not in use.
If someone who doesn’t have chat messages a RCS user the message will be delivered as a SMS.
The Verge says Chat is a carrier-based service not a Google service like Gmail. The search engine giant wants every carrier’s Chat service to be ‘interoperable’. Chat will not be end-to-end encrypted similar to WhatsApp or iMessage.
Anil Sabharwal VP at Google spoke to The Verge saying by mid 2019 a large percentage of Android users will be on Chat. He says the service will ‘differ from country to country’ with Europe and Latin America to get a hold of it before the US. He also notes, “This is not a three- to five-year play. Our goal is to get this level of quality messaging to our users on Android within the next couple of years.”
No word on whether the iPhone will support Chat however sources say Apple is in talks with Google to adopt RCS.
The service will be introduced sometime this year.