- Google’s “Chat” is supposed to be an equivalent of Apple’s iMessage.
- There are some privacy concerns with RCS, which is actually the successor of SMS.
- After the UK, Mexico, and France, the United States can now avail of the features of RCS.
Android owners can now avail of Google’s version of iMessage in the United States. This new service of Google is being called “Chat.” It contains an assortment of enhanced tools that mirror the features of Apple’s iMessage. For instance, Android users can now enjoy new features such as read receipts and an ellipsis symbol which shows when somebody is typing. In addition to that, Android users can also enjoy sending a higher resolution of videos and images.
According to the tweet of the Product Management Director of Google, Sanaz Ahari, people in the United States are required to update both their carrier services and their messages app to avail of the new tools. The first time users got to experience “Chat” was in the UK, Mexico, and France. Google is pretty excited about its launch in the States.
The Introduction Of RCS To Android Users In The US
Just like iMessage, with the help of “Chat,” Android users can now use or disable the service according to their needs and preferences. All Android smartphone users in America can now use the new features of “Chat” with any mobile phone with RCS (Rich Communications Services) enabled. In simple terms, RCS is a successor of SMS. The people who can use “Chat” includes those who are on US Cellular and Sprint (S) and using Samsung (SSNLF) Messages. However, they should have RCS on their networks to be able to use the features of “Chat” with ease.
It is no secret that RCS has been on the horizon for a few years now. It is something that was promised to the users a long time ago. However, carriers were taking their own sweet time to enable this new technology on their networks. Therefore, Google finally decided to offer RCS chat through its own servers directly to the users rather than waiting for carriers to provide them. That said, the rollout of RCS might not be as smooth or seamless as hoped by Google.
Potential Drawbacks Of The RCS
To begin with, privacy is a huge issue with RCS. Unlike WhatsApp, Signal, and iMessage, RCS does not provide users with end-to-end encryption. Technically, Google can still see all the messages people exchange on RCS when they arrive on its servers. This means that if law enforcement agencies ever ask to turn over these messages, Google will have to do so. This could be your potential concern for security advocates and Android users.
Another thing is that the three biggest US carrier networks, i.e., T-Mobile (TMUS), Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) cannot use RCS currently to connect. Recently, they announced that they would join forces in 2020. Moreover, Google shared that it is willing to collaborate with any carrier in order to connect RCS users.
It is a known fact that Google has been trying to play catch-up with Apple’s iMessage for some time now. The same holds true for iPhones as well. Through RCS, Google has found a viable way to get it done. Although there are several concerns regarding “Chat,” it is a step in the right direction when it comes to Google’s own version of iMessage. Although Google had been hoping that service providers and carriers would support RCS themselves, they were quite slow in making that happen which is when the technological giant decided to take matters in their own hands and initiate RCS themselves.
Himanshu is a law student who lives in Delhi. He caught the writing bug a few months ago and has been unstoppable ever since. He enjoys traveling, coffee, and the company of like-minded people.