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Google's RCS 'Chat' plans are actually kind of brilliant

Did you hear? Google is releasing yet another unified messaging app at I/O this year, and is sunsetting the Allo app announced in 2016! How crazy is that?! Does anyone at that company have any clue what they are doing?!?!1!ONE?!!

Lets all take a deep breath for a moment and catch up.

Thanks to some absolutely stellar reporting from The Verge, we know Google is finally ready to admit its messaging strategy has not gotten better over the last couple of years. To attack this problem head on, Google appointed the guy who has been steering the Good Ship Photos into its place of dominance. The plan as it stands right now is to finish something Google started back in 2013, which is kill SMS once and for all. Instead of creating a new app and politely asking people to sign up for it, Google is pumping features into the text messaging app you already have on your phone and asking all of the carriers to support a unified approach to non-SMS messaging.

It's not exciting. It's not flashy, and it has nothing to do with competing against Apple's iMessage platform. And I'm pretty sure that's why it is going to work.

Here's the thing about SMS messaging - it's awful. On a technical level SMS messaging is deeply flawed. It was never actually intended to be a mass consumer messaging tool, and several mobile network engineers I've spoken to over the years have openly mocked it for being held together with the software equivalent of paper clips and bubble gum. It's expensive to maintain, and was never meant to be relied on in the ways it is today. The carriers have wanted a viable replacement to SMS for a long time now, but instead of building public alternatives, Google and Apple created platforms limited to Google or Apple login requirements. Apple has been a great deal more successful that Google with its messaging platform, but the underlying problems have not gone away.

The truth is, nothing about Google's plans for this new Chat experience is even remotely new. Most U.S. carriers have supported Rich Communication Services or RCS for a while now. The carriers offering early support had unique hacky features to make it unique, in an attempt to keep you using that carrier. To fix this, the Universal Profile was created to offer every user on every carrier a baseline set of features that worked no matter what system you used. Until very recently, the only major carrier to flat out refuse RCS support or Universal Profile implementation was Verizon Wireless. As the primary carrier of Google's Pixel phones, it was important for Google to change that. Now we know that change is coming.

Google is supporting a universal, feature-rich platform with no barrier to entry, and it's going to improve everyone's overall experience.

With all of the major carriers supporting RCS with Universal Profile, Google can now add features until the sun collapses and those features will be available to every Android phone. This creates a scenario in which the only major manufacturer actively leaning on SMS for messaging is Apple, which has also not supported RCS with its messaging platform. If the carriers want to eventually stop offering SMS (they do) and Apple is the only major company stopping them (it will be) Google has effectively turned the carriers into lobbying arms for getting Apple to support RCS. Whether Apple actually follows suit instead of digging in its heels to sell more iPhones is another matter entirely.

Personally, I'm excited by Chat. Google is supporting a universal, feature-rich platform with no barrier to entry, and it's going to improve everyone's overall experience. It also gives Google considerable leverage in feature implementation, since Android has well over two billion active users and Google wants to compete with iMessage and WhatsApp in a meaningful way.

It also makes a lot of sense for Allo to be "paused" while all of this is happening. A lot of the Allo experience is going to be folded into Chat, and there really aren't that many people using it to begin with. The end goal here is much larger than releasing a competing product, it's creating a platform carriers already want to support where Google has its hand on the scale for future development. That is going to be a much bigger deal in the not-so-distant future.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

101 Comments
  • Anyone who gets me a desktop client that actually works is going to have my money.
  • A web-based desktop client is part of this update ☺
  • Yep. And the second that is up and running, I'll port my GV number over to my carrier.
  • > ...it has nothing to do with competing against Apple's iMessage platform. I don't think that's true at all, it's definitely a push to compete against iMessage. RCS is basically iMessage with a Android twist. I mean, I could be completely misunderstanding what iMessage is, I guess, but from what I understand it's basically Facebook Messenger with SMS fallback, which is what RCS is aiming to be. I'm super excited for this, can't wait to learn more and actually start using it!
  • I would argue this has a lot more to do with WhatsApp than iMessage, but I see your point.
  • They started the article by saying this and then later in the article they state they are in fact competing with iMessage... so I'm confused. To me, it's absolutely naive to think that this isn't direct competition with apple. Ask any iPhone user why they still use an iPhone and they'll tell you it's the ecosystem; iMessage across all devices seamlessly syncs. Android is far superior in almost every other aspect of a phone in my opinion. However, what do we all do most? Send text messages. Apple has been doing iMessage for YEARS and I am shocked it's taken Google this long to wake up.
  • It's not about iMessage across all devices. Android has solid solutions for that with SMS. It's about, as ridiculous as this sounds, being green in a blue world... iMessage locks people into iOS because it's what most of their friends and family use, and as soon as you leave it, a couple of things happen. First, message features and quality decline significantly (something RCS will help if Apple ends up supporting it). Second, it completely wrecks group messages and the only solution is to either start a new thread altogether, or have your friends/family remove and re-add you to the thread, which again, complete wrecks the thread. Leaving iMessage severely hampers and oftentimes breaks one of the primary reasons for having a phone - communication with those you care about. It's like you're driving down the road in a high-end bus with all of the people you care about, then you suddenly wreck and have to split up into different vehicles, using only walkie talkies or CB radios. RCS isn't going to fix that unfortunately. It'll make the alternative a more feature-rich option, which is good. But it's in no way going to fix the iMessage stranglehold. Edit: this is also mostly a U.S. problem, as many other parts of the world have higher Android adoption, and mostly use apps like WhatsApp.
  • tnt4
    "It's not about iMessage across all devices. Android has solid solutions for that with SMS. It's about, as ridiculous as this sounds, being green in a blue world... "
    couldn't be further from the truth. i couldn't care less about what color the bubble is, and neither does anyone else. in fact, if apple would allow any customization, people wouldn't use those colors at all.
    The reason IS because it works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac seemlessly. it's because of all the robust features like being able to see if they are texting back etc.
    It's about being 100% SURE that person GOT the message. with android, it may not send at all, it might send double, even when using samsung to samsung or google to goole.
    it's about getting HIGH QUALITY pictures AND Video in the text message that looks as good as the phone it was taken on.
    Android does NOT have a solution to text on your desktop that is worth downloading. I have tried every solution offered by android/google and it ALL terrible at best.
    Texting on Android is the Reason people keep iPhones. iMessage is light years ahead of anything on android and it sounds like the "chat" is just a another cork, for another hole.
    Android needs a REAL iMessage comp. But, since Samsung, Moto, LG etc want their OWN message app as default, it will never happen.
    Android will never be anything more than a Toy until they get texting on android half as good as it is on iPhone.
  • This.
    Without question, RCS is a direct competitor to iMessage. The *only* thing I miss about my iPhone is iMessage. Every other aspect/feature has an Android equivalent that is at least as good, if not better. The main reasons people stick with iPhone:
    1. Most of their friends have iPhone
    2. iMessage
    3. Their job forces them to use iPhone
    4. Status symbol Once RCS/Chat on Android is fully implemented, iMessage won't have nearly as much "retaining power" and many longtime iPhone users will switch to Android.
  • I just don't agree with this, and maybe I'm short-sighted. But I don't think RCS is going to fix anything with regard to competing for iMessage. I elaborated it on this just above your comment, but RCS will simply make regular texting better. I can't see it changing anything with regard to the way iMessage has iOS users locked in.
  • If RCS sends videos and pics in the same - or very similar - resolution that iMessage does, without iPhone people having to use a separate client, I think you'll be surprised how many jump ship. It's literally the only thing that keeps an iPhone in my hand. So many videos and pics of kids in my family, and it only takes one non-iPhone person on a thread to destroy the quality of that video for everybody. Now, I have no idea if RCS will remedy this, I'm just saying that if it did - and did it seamlessly - I think people wouldn't be "scared" of messaging with Android. Then again, I could be wrong...
  • That's very true about the quality and features. But when you ditch that iPhone, your threads are still going to break and you'll likely go through a period where you won't receive group messages unless a new "green" group thread is started. I'm all for RCS and the improvements it brings, I just don't think it's going to be a deal maker or breaker for anybody. But, as you said, I'll say the same - I could be wrong! ;)
  • You keep hammering a point that is at an extreme end of the spectrum. At the absolute worst case scenario, this would only be as bad as someone getting a new phone number.
  • Android is not superior to iOS, it’s a matter of taste. Unless of course you want to customize deeply your OS which honestly very few people actually care about (outside of tech enthusiasts i mean)... And i don’t think iMessage is the main lock-in for Apple, it’s how the whole ecosystem works together (including but not limited to iMessage). More people use WhatsApp or Facebook or other cross platform messaging so iMessage alone is far from being a lock-in...
  • Was about to post this exact thing. But you won the race haha. It's absolutely competing with imessage. How is it not?
  • Pulse app has a desktop App
  • I have used WhatsApp and Kik, but do not understand how they are better than plain old SMS. I suppose it has a lot to do with the way you use them. The nice thing about SMS, there is nothing to sign up for. If I have your cell number I can communicate with you. What are people doing and what is it that these apps do, that is so important? I am honestly asking. I use Google's messaging app, because it works with Reply
  • With SMS you're limited to how many characters you can send in one message, you can't send photos or media so they're sent as MMS which aren't included in call plans (at least in most of the world) and they're very expensive to send.
    With WhatsApp (or most other instant messenger apps) you can see in real time if the other person is online, received or read your message, you can send as much photos and videos as you like for free, you can even call or video chat in the app for free.
    There's no comparison really and SMS has had it's day tbh. 99% of the sms I receive are from apps or companies sending verification codes etc
  • The family is always sending pictures and we have not had any issues with our bill, so I guess that does not really apply to me. I am also not to concerned. I do not like to chat through texting. If I need to talk I will call. I mainly use texting as a way of sending info that I want you to have, but I do not need to talk. As I said in my other post, it really depends on how you use it. I do not like to have conversations through text. My adult daughter does, that is why I like reply. I can reply without needing to type, it is very good. Now that is a feature I would like built into all texting apps.
  • One difference you'll notice is that the pictures you and your family send to one another will look a LOT better, because they won't need to be compressed to the degree that photos sent via MMS are. At some point, have someone who isn't on the same carrier as you are send you the same picture over text, and over Hangouts/WhatsApp/etc, and compare the two. It'll be a very noticeable difference, I promise.
  • Absolutely agree with that. That's where iMessage also has a huge advantage as media is sent at full resolution and not compressed by the app
  • Except do not send it over Hangouts... Any picture sent over Hangouts is compressed into freakin kilobytes... :(
  • For me the benefit of iMessage is the live typing indicators and read receipts in the conversation.
  • I could have that if I used the text app that came with my phone. At least for my friends and family on AT&T. I am not sure who all it works with. I have Skype for Business at my office. My boss loves it, so I have to use it. The online feature is nice. I work remote and I am able to see if she is online or left for the day. It is just not a must have texting feature for me, but I do understand some people would really need it.
  • It only works if someone else is using the same (I'm assuming Samsung) message app.
  • As I understand it, it'll work for anyone on AT&T whose phone (and messaging app) supports AT&T's Advanced Messaging. Ditto for people on VZW and T-Mobile customers texting within their own network. Like the article says, the carriers already support RCS, but they're not using a universal standard, so you don't get the benefits if you're messaging someone outside of your network.
  • You're right, and that's exactly the problem. There is so much fragmentation in the messaging realm in Android, that very few apps (or OEMs) support it with any consistency, rendering the feature practically useless.
  • And RCS Universal Profile is the fix for the exact problem you describe.
  • Right - I was simply answering the post above.
  • Agreed. That's why I vastly prefer Hangouts, Allo, and WhatsApp to to SMS. Fortunately, those indicators are part of the URCS standard.
  • For me this is the exact reason I don't need iMessage. This whole thing with someone watch and waiting for me to start typing is BS. Just like when my wife gets made cause I haven't responded to her text within 5 minutes. And the response she gets is... HELLO, I AM WORKING AND CANNOT RESPOND TO EVERY TEXT IMMEDIATELY. To many people have gotten it into their heads that text messaging is a live conversation and think they should get an immediate response. If you need an immediate response pick up the phone and call me... These are phones after all and you can actually still call someone on them. Also, if what you have to say is longer than one sentence then pick up the phone and call... Text messaging was not designed to send a book to someone.
  • Which Hangouts had way before iMessage and others. Why Google bailed on Hangouts is beyond me. Hangouts has a web client and a phone client, with seamless transfer from one to the other.
  • Also what's app is end to end encrypted which people value a lot these days. Google chat rcs function not having end to end is kind of a downer.. but if you really don't care about privacy I guess I'd say that it's the most awesome thing ever.
  • I know many back-end systems held together by bubble gum and paper clips. It would scare you.
  • It doesn't scare me because that's how much of the world works. The reason SMS is needed is because it does not depend on the public Internet. It may be a bicycle in the age of cars, but when the gasoline truck drivers go on strike, it will still get you somewhere.
  • I wonder why it took another unsuccessful app attempt for them to decide to do this? If i recall correctly, this is pretty much what everyone was really hoping Allo would be last year.
  • I really hope this is Google's breakthrough messaging app but I think I've said the same thing with every one they've released so as much as I'm rooting for them I'll still believe it when I see it.
  • Agreed, although this time around, Google is going for something that is the reason for iMessage's success: no barrier for entry for users. iMessage has such high adoption because it's the out-of-the-box messaging client on every iPhone ever sold, so no one has to spend even 30 seconds going through the App Store to install it (and because it's a good service, but that's not relevant here). Once the carriers finally play ball, that'll be the case for this as well. ...and all of that said, I'll believe it when I see it.
  • But there's already no barrier to entry? Most Android users already default to SMS when they're not using FB, WhatsApp, etc. RCS isn't going to pull them away from that (maybe I'm wrong?). There needs to be incentive for entry here, not a lack of a barrier to entry, IMHO anyway. And as great as it is that RCS will improve SMS quality, I don't see why it would pull anybody back to SMS that is already using other platforms regularly.
  • "when they're not using FB, WhatsApp, etc" is the most important part of what you just said. Even though those services are popular, not everyone uses them, and there are a ton to choose from. Once URCS is deployed by the carriers, it will be absolutely ubiquitous without anyone having to go to the Play Store. That's a big deal.
  • I agree, I just don't think it's going to pull anybody off what they're already using. If someone gets a new phone and already uses WhatsApp or FB Messenger, that's going to be one of the first apps they download, regardless of RCS. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong...
  • Well lets hope hope Google can pull it off, I know Blackberry tried with BBM as that was the intent to replace SMS with BBM as a SMS v2. This indeed will be interesting
  • As a matter of fact BlackBerry was ready to support RCS Joyn as soon as Z10 came out but due to carriers not supporting RCS it had remained disabled deep in the system.
  • Why are we still clamoring for a solution that's so dependent on carriers and poor encryption in the era of whatsapp and telegram?
  • Ahh good question. 🤔 And great point! Will this be as secure as using Whatsapp and its encryption? If not, then I'll stick with Whatsapp
  • I'm now wondering if WhatsApp could just add sms fallback to the app then they'd have a cross platform alternative to iMessage that's already mega popular on iPhone and Android? I doubt they have any compelling reason to right now when they're already so popular and the other Facebook owned IM service Facebook Messenger already does this but it's food for thought
  • Because not every one want to use third party apps, i have no interest what so ever in Whatsapp or telegram. the good thing about SMS is that you know everyone has it. RCS will have a problem to be honest for a long time, because a lot of phones will not be able to accept it RCS messages and not all network providers will support it. In time more network providers will, but there will still be people for years that will not have a phone to support RCS. But from what I have read, these phone will read the message as normal text.,
  • They require data. Sms does not. You can send an sms with almost zero cell service.
    For all of you who say things like "I'm never without data" take a look at coverage maps.
  • But you can't send media by SMS and MMS is expensive, well in the UK anyway.
  • "major carriers" - only in the US or globally?
  • https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/rcs/universal-profile/
  • Missing all UK networks that I can see
  • Vodafone is suppose to support it at some point, they call it message+
    Not sure about the others.
  • Vodafone is there and so is Telefonica (o2). Orange too but whether that covers EE or not I'm not sure?
  • Yeah I saw Orange and wasn't sure.. I'm on EE so hope so
  • Looked on the EE website and they said that it looks like they will never implement RCS! :( Google says that it wants to work with carriers so it doesn't upset them, but instead upsets the user....not the best logic!
  • I hate SMS, never know if person actually received it or not. Especially with buggy as hell Project Fi
  • I really hope a major announcement during I/O on this. If not, we will keep waiting until sun collapses..:(
  • Another chat app? Picard <Facepalm>.....
  • Nope, not another app. They're improving Android Messages,an app that already exists.
  • My eyes just glaze over when "chat" and "google" are mentioned together.
  • I don't think the carriers have as much pull over Apple as is implied in the article. What is the end game? Carriers stop selling iPhones? Not gonna happen.
  • Agree completely and had the same thought. Apple could not care less if the carriers and/or Google lobby them to support RCS. IMHO they'll go one of two routes - they'll either support it because it's a new SMS standard and it will increase the user experience for "regular" texting. Or they won't, because I would venture to say that 50-80% of every Android user's friends/family (in the U.S.) use an iPhone, so the texting experience will suck unless they breakdown and get an iPhone. That wasn't worded very well, but hopefully made some sense...
  • Here is how I see this dilemma working itself out. 1. As the article points out, at some point the carriers are going to want to sunset SMS.
    2. Apple would, at that point have 3 options: a. Somehow convince the carriers to keep on using the antiquated and expensive SMS system possibly by coercion as you suggest, b. drop SMS fallback from imessage and not incorporate RCS to replace, or c. adpot RCS to replace SMS as an imessage fallback.
    3. Despite what you think, option a. is a non-starter because if Apple starts threatening 55+ carriers to do something otherwise against their will that would fit the definition of anti-trust behavior very neatly and I would expect multiple governments to do something about it.
    4. Option b. is entirely possible of course, but I think it unlikely for one reason--Apple doesn't want poeple messaging outside the imessage app and when SMS goes away if Apple didn't adopt RCS as a fallback, iphone users would be forced to 3rd party apps to message anyone who doesn't have an iphone (still 80% of the world, afterall).
    5. I think Apple is most likely to adopt option c because they will still want people to think of the imessage app as one stop messaging anyone who has a phone. I could be wrong, of course. We shall see.
  • Apple will adopt.. but only when they are ready and as always they will find a way to make everyone think they invented it. At the end of the day carriers are not going to continue to pay money to support sms, something that honestly should have died years ago.
  • Main thing I want is to be able to not need to use a separate app to save and sync text messages. This is the biggest pain when switching phones.
  • Pulse SMS to the rescue. The message syncing is the main reason I use it.
  • I know Hangouts always gets a bad rap for some reason, I never had any issues with it. Hangouts have everything I need, video, text and voice. It was a Google product easily installed on any Android phone I really wish I would have caught up I miss Google Hangouts.
  • I use Hangouts and WhatsApp. I see no difference. Hangouts is a great name.
  • No dark mode in the app? Skip.
  • Random question - do email notifications for responses to comments no longer work on here? I haven't been receiving them since around the time the site changed its look... I've dug through settings and can't find anything either.
  • +1 this question
  • Same issue. I wish I could turn it on.
  • WWDC is in June. I think that is when we find out if Apple is going to see the writing on the wall and get in early or if they are going to dig in their heels. They are going to HAVE to eventually because their is no way they won't get the blame for the pain they cause. With that said, I think we will get the announcement at WWDC. However, I'll make a few key predictions as to how they will fight tooth and nail against it while supporting it. One, expect apple to pull out all the stops on promoting their one key differentiation. Encryption. Two, they will still still continue to show an annoying and blatant fixture to the user with every message that is sent to a non-Apple phone. Likely something designed to make it look like it is less secure or somehow bad. They might even turn those messages red or have a persistent warning on threads that include non-Apple users.
  • You mean like having the messages be a less palatable green shade, instead of blue? :)
  • I think this year's WWDC is a little too soon, but I think you are correct in that ultimately Apple will not have much choice but to adopt RCS to replace SMS as a imessage fallback.
  • Am I the only one that always thought this was the plan? The only news this week is that they are getting the much needed traction from carriers. In my opinion this is an indirect competitor to imessage no one is jumping to Android for this but it does eliminate/minimize a reason for someone to jump from Android. Overall I think this is a very good thing. The biggest reason why imessage has worked so well is that it just comes as the messaging app when you first get the device and off you go. No real setup needed other than your devices initial setup. And this time using a technology that the carriers want to adopt for their own purposes as well.
  • "...but it does eliminate/minimize a reason for someone to jump from Android" - as long as Apple adopts it
  • I can't take the bright white background on any app. Especially one used as much as a messaging app is. Dark/night mode or forget about it...
  • i like SMS, everyone has it, it is simple for quick messages and it does what it says on the tin. I see no need for anything else to be honest. Also you can bet that it will not be included in your package like SMS is now.
    It will be years before SMS goes, too many phones out there that supports it.
  • That's my worry. MMS are still extortionate here in the UK after all these years. I'd hope that because RCS messages are carried over the data network they should be free but it will come down to the network provider ultimately and they don't give you anything for free
  • Came here for that. Texts are usually unlimited.
  • Texts, as in SMS are, but sending photos or videos by MMS are not. Sending an MMS message in the UK is really expensive.
  • I could tell that many people are confused what RCS actually is. It has nothing to do with Google or Apple or any other OS or device manufacturer. It's evolution of standard services that carriers can provide you with and one of them is Instant Messaging like in case of Google Chat. But Chat is just a front end for the service carriers offer. It was the same deal as with Text features of feature phones, manufacturers have followed the white paper and developed sms feature in their operating system. TO clear up the confusion IM in RCS is exactly the same thing as iMessage, Whatsapp, FB Messenger, Viber, BBM, WeChat, Skype and many other IM out there. RCS offers few things Standalone Messaging
    1-to-1 Chat
    Group Chat
    File Transfer
    Content Sharing
    Social Presence Information
    IP Voice call
    Best Effort Video call
    Geolocation Exchange
    Audio Messaging
    Network based blacklist And future plans include unified phonebook and call history so no matter what phone you have or a carrier whenever you switch all your logs come back into your new phone. The most popular branding for RCS is Joyn and it has been available all over the world for quire some time.
  • I gave the Google team this advice over 2 years ago. Their bifurcated developments never made any sense and there was no way that any of the separate apps came close to iMessage. Additionally support for Google Voice could be integrated for those that have that service. RCS makes it so much easier to provide a combined platform. They could base a business version on it as well instead of continuing Hangouts.No brilliance here!
  • This is what Google should have done to begin with. All these redundant apps like Android Messages, Allo, and Hangouts that are missing basic functionality features. They could bake the functionality of all three of the aforementioned into one app and they would have one heck of an app. Google's inability to get messaging right is probably partly the reason for the rise in popularity of IM apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, etc around the world.
  • The article, and many of the commenters here, have forgotten about the other benefit that iMessage has, and that's Face Time. So in 1 Apple app you have text messaging, data messaging, and face messaging. Until an Android app (and an app native to any phone manufacturer) gets that right, Apple wins the messaging app wars.
  • Facetime and iMessage are two apps, though... But either way I think your general premise is absolutely correct.
  • Except that there are two apps to do that. So I don't see how they win.
  • Ugh... Google. I still use hangouts, it works fine. Started using Allo because hangouts was supposed to be replaced by it. They both work fine, just stick with 1 already.
  • It doesn't matter they will drop support in 2 years max, and have some new message app. It's a joke. Messageing is the thing the should force in oems using Android. Not email or maps or music or whatever is involved with it.
  • No one HAS to use iMessage on an iPhone, right? I mean you have to enable/register the phone number when you first set up an iPhone. When you port your number to another iPhone or Android device you have to deregister from to old phone. Apple just makes it so easy to use iMessage as soon as you activate the new iPhone. Plus, doesn't iMessage use apple servers anyway if not an SMS message? Google's biggest problem is that they didn't integrate sms/rcs with Android Messages or Allo to begin with. Same with other services like BBM, Skype, etc. I agree SMS sucks, it's not private or secure or encrypted. It must be retired. A secure IM/RCS app is the way to go IMO. My hope is that BBM is that app but I will come down to iMessage and a Google product, whatever that is... My dark horse bet is Microsoft. Very likely to make such a product. They are all in with development for Android. I would strongly consider using Skype if it had all the boxes checked.
  • 3.2 Your License. Hulu is pleased to grant you a non-exclusive
  • I just hope Google adds 1 very important feature in this new chat app, the ability to share your location with other people who use this app, iMessage has this so why isn't there an Android app that can do this? Either way it looks like Google may finally have a iMessage and WhatsApp competitor.
  • Are you just referring to a Google messaging app? I'm assuming you know Whatsapp does have the ability to send your location to someone else.
  • What about ICQ??
  • This won't do anything unless carriers actually get off there ass and start imementing it. So far Sprint is the only one on board so far. T-MOBILE claims very soon. Verizon and At&t are not in any hurry and hasn't even given a definitive answer on the matter. Apple was smart in that they made a platform that didn't require carriers to get on board. I just don't think RCS is gonna be a big deal for another 3-4 years if that. Google should have just improved on Hangouts when it had the chance and that would have worked
  • Hangouts is brilliant for what it can do, here are some features you can't find in other Google Messaging Apps / Attempts: 1) Support for multiple accounts simultaneously
    2) Group video and audio chats
    3) VOIP Calling, SMS & Voice Mail to / from actual phones numbers from anywhere for multiple accounts
    4) Cloud native working on multiple devices simultaneously and all platforms, not just a single phone! All what Hangouts needed is to polish the interface, make it more responsive, add few tweeks and fun features like Assistant support, larger emoji, better integration with google drive / apps for the basic hangouts version. Having a Hangouts version geared for Business call it Pro or Office or whatever branding you like doesn't mean that your core users won't benefit from existing powerful hangouts features. Other Google apps / attempts for an app lack some of hangounts core features ie: 1) Allo: doesn't support multiple accounts or devices i.e. can't use my phone and tablet!! supported by hangouts from day 1.
    2) Duo: lack of group video/audio conferencing, hangouts had the lead with group audio / video chats
    3) Messenger: SMS only, no cloud support and single device only.
    4) Hangouts Chat: Nice attempt for business and nice integration with Google Apps, but no multiple accounts support where you need it the most!
    5) Google Voice: Event the google voice app ironically can't place a VOIP call with your google voice number, but Hangouts brilliantly supports send / receive multiple google voice accounts simultaneously.
  • during hurricane katrina , here in new orleans there was 0 cell service but sms still got thru to peoples loved ones, that there says alot about sms, im all for the change to rcs with sms as a fall back, because data was nonexistent apps like whatsapp fb messenger and all the other popular data chat apps would have been of absolutely 0 value
  • Only thing Apple does well on iphone is imessage. It gets old sending someone a 2-3 second video that is less than 1mb to begin with get truncated down unwatchable garbage.
  • Good luck with that! Google will have to work with countless carriers WIRLDWIDE and all the Android manufacturers...