Since Apple released iMessages, Google is trying to catch up, but the company has never developed an instant messaging app that's as good or safe as Apple's.
Long-term Android fans have been experiencing text messaging / messaging on Android, as over the years Google has launched numerous apps that should provide users with better chat experiences. But the company was unable to deliver anything near an iMessage competitor. Until now?
Google Chat is reportedly the chat app that will bring the Android SMS experience closer to the iPhone, The Verge report on the new app.
However, I'll tell you from the beginning that chat will not have any of the best features of iMessage. Apple's standard iPhone SMS app includes end-to-end encryption for messages sent as iMessages. The app turns text into regular text messages when they are sent to Android users. In this case, they are processed by mobile service providers, not Apple servers.
Google Chat is based on RCS or Rich Communication Services, a new standard for SMS texts. A whole range of carriers and device manufacturers are already supporting RCS messaging, and Google is working with everyone to bring RCS to Android as a chat. Apple is not included in this list. It will be surprising if RCS decides to support RCS given its attitude to privacy and user safety.
Because chat about the infrastructure of mobile operators that are open for access to SMS records police, it will not be encrypted end-to-end. Another important reason for not encrypting Google is Google's own needs. Google Assistant needs to work inside the chat app. This means that he has to see the messages exchanged in it. It's just like Allo, Google's former iMessage alternative, that the company is now dumbing in favor of chat.
One reason that carriers hate iMessage is that it does not bring any revenue for them. These texts are sent over the Internet between iOS devices so that operators can not tax them. Sure, you pay for the data, but iMessage is one of the mobile chat apps that started killing SMS a few years ago.
The politically correct answer to the lack of encryption and the need for operator control is that Google wants to keep it. Android is an open platform, which means it does not want to force a proprietary chat experience on carriers and device manufacturers. You know what Apple did with iMessage. Google's Anil Sabharwal, who directs the chat project, explains it this way:
Without these [carrier and OEM] partners, we can not make it. We do not believe in adopting Apple's approach. We are basically an open ecosystem. We believe in cooperation with partners. We believe in working with our OEMs to deliver a great experience.
However, if you agree with an iMessage-like experience without the encryption, then you can expect chat to work on your Android devices point later this year. Or next year. There is no clear rollout as the chat functionality depends on both carrier and device support.
And yes, you can assume that a desktop version of Chat works on your computer. iMessage works well on mobile and desktop computers.
You will still have access to other encrypted chat apps on Android, including WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal, though none of them will replace the standard SMS app on your phone.
To checkout The Verge's Chat Preview video: