Google is switching gears in the messaging space once again, and will now focus on a new service called Chat, which will try and improve the standard SMS app on Android phones. Chat is not another SMS app from Google, instead, it is a carrier-based service which relies on a new standard called Rich Communication Services. Details on Google’s new focus on Chat were first revealed by The Verge in an exclusive report.
It also appears that Google might be giving up on Allo, its messaging app that was launched with much fanfare in 2016 at the company’s annual I/O developer conference. The entire Allo team has been moved to Android Messages, adds the report with Google confirming it is ‘pausing investment’ into the app. Allo was launched as a competitor to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger with the option for interacting with Google Assistant embedded within the app.
While Duo, the video-calling app from Google which was also launched alongside Allo, has been a big success with over 100 million downloads by July 2017, the messaging app never quite took off. Google it seems is giving up on this, and instead focusing on improving the standard texting experience for Android users.
As the report on The Verge explains Chat will be a new service. Once carriers turn on the features, they will be visible in the Android Messages app for most users. The report also makes it clear that Chat is not Google Chat per se, but rather a carrier-based effort. Also this is not an iMessage clone, and nor will the service will end-to-end encrypted.
Instead, the texting experience will get better with features like read receipts, typing indicators, full images and videos. The report points out that even Samsung phones with their default Samsung messaging app will support Chat once it starts rolling out. Google will partner with OEMS and carriers for the rollout of Chat. Where Hangouts is concerned, it will become Hangout Chats with a focus on enterprise.