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Goodbye SMS? Google Makes Big Push for 'Chat' Standard


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Goodbye SMS? Google Makes Big Push for 'Chat' Standard

Rich Communication Services – or simply 'Chat' – aims to bring a more Apple iMessage-like experience to Android. But unlike iMessage, Chat will not be end-to-end encrypted.

Google is making a big push for unified messaging on Android, an effort now known simply as "Chat."


Chat, or Rich Communication Services (RCS), seeks to do away with SMS and replace it with RCS, which allows for features SMS cannot currently handle, like lengthy messages, group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, read receipts, and typing indicators.


RCS has been in the works for several years, but in a lengthy exclusive, The Verge reports that Google has had some success getting more carriers and phone makers to adopt RCS. In 2016, T-Mobile and Sprint were on board, but AT&T and Verizon only signed on "in the past few months," The Verge says.


RCS now has 55 global carriers, 11 phone makers, and two operating system makers signed up, according to the GSMA, a mobile trade group handling RCS specifications. That second OS maker? Microsoft, which could pave the way for an RCS chat app on Windows 10, The Verge speculates.


Until then, Chat "will automatically be turned on inside Android Messages, the OS's default app for texting," The Verge says. Samsung is also reportedly planning to support Chat inside its own messaging app. Once your phone maker or carrier adopts RCS, your Android messaging should automatically get an upgrade, allowing for chat features you might currently find in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Google's Allo.


If you're a fan of Allo, though, it might not be long for this world. Google is halting work on it to focus on Chat and put "all its resources into … Android Messages," which will be getting new features like GIF search and Google Assistant integration in the future.


The company is also reportedly prepping a "desktop web interface for texting" described as "an extension of your phone."


Chat messages are sent over your cellular data plan, not your SMS plan. If the person you're texting doesn't have Chat on their handset, the message will "revert back to SMS." For now, that includes anyone with an iPhone, since Apple has yet to embrace RCS.


The Verge suggests it will be hard for Apple not to adopt RCS eventually, but Cupertino hasn't made any announcements. One reason it might not? Chat will not be end-to-end encrypted, like iMessage, so Android users worried about someone snooping on their messages will want to stick to secure apps like Signal.


When will you get it? Much like Android OS updates, that depends on your carrier.


"The new Chat services will be turned on for most people in the near future, though timing will be dictated by each carrier," The Verge notes. "Google is optimistic many carriers will flip the switch this year, but there could be some stragglers." Considering its lack of end-to-end encryption, there's a good chance Apple will not support it.

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  • 3 months later...
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RCS is the future. A few carrier has already incorporated RCS into their system.

But SMS will stay with us for sometime.

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Good luck with that, G. Some things just don't go away even if it is backed by corporate giants.



30 minutes ago, teodz1984 said:

Carrriers with per message charges won't like this :)


 Exactly my thoughts.

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