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Google is dragging the plain old SMS into the 21st Century with RCS-enabled Chat with iMessage-like experience

by Felix Omondi
Rich Communication Services rcs

The fact you are here reading on Innov8tiv means you are tech savvy, and you probably ditched the plain old SMS for the more interesting messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Viber and the ‘whole gang.’ However, stats show that about 8 trillion SMS still get sent per year, which means there is still a sizeable amount of people out there who are still using SMS.

Well, Google after intensive lobbying with carriers and OEMs around the world is now prepping to launch a new messaging app Chat. This chat app will do away with the conventional SMS messaging on Android and usher in the Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services (RCS) standards.

The rollout of RCS is set to take place within the next few months. As it works out if you and your contacts both have Android phones and are using carriers supporting RCS messaging. You will be able to send a rich text back and forth; the message will support sending of not just text, but also full-resolution images and video.

It will also have other features such as read receipt, typing indicator, and support for group chats. You will not be charged as sending an SMS. Instead, you will be charged for the data consumed. However, if you are texting someone who has not enabled Chat on their end (that also includes users on iOS), the message will be received as plain old SMS message.

When you think about it, Google RCS-enabled Chat works like Apple’s iMessage. It is interesting to note that Microsoft also supports RCS, and you could soon find yourself texting your contacts right from the convenience of your Windows 10 computer.

However, you need to know that Chat will not be encrypted, and that means your carrier could log all the messages you have been sending and receiving. That means they could be compelled by the government to reveal that information, or a brilliant hacker can break into their system and get all your information.

Then again, there’s nothing new Chat will be giving you that you already can’t get from the more advanced messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. The benefit of these other apps is that they come with encryption (at least that’s what they tell us), and you can chat away knowing your information is secure.

It is also interesting to note that Google nowadays doesn’t seem quite keen on promoting Allo, the messaging app it launched in September 2016, as it did when launching the app. Could it be the company is waiting to merge Allo with Chat?

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