Google Smart Reply

WATCH OUT For Google Chat App

Google Chat App
Photo Credit: Google / The Verge

Google is launching a Chat App known simply is ‘Chat’ or Google Chat App . The App is touted to replace SMS on Android phones. Google chat was announced Yesterday (19/4/2018). The Chat app brings colorfulness, liveliness and vibrancy to texting.

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No More Boring SMS

Most people that left or change Apple iPhones to an Android phone , tend to complain about the boring chatting experience. The situation is about to change with Google announce of Chat. iPhone users have had the simplicity of iMessage built in, Android users have been left to fend for themselves by downloading third party apps.

Google told The Verge that its new Chat technology adds typing indicators, bigger, full-resolution images, video and read receipts. This is meant to keep Android messaging from being left in the dust by Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and the large mass of other messaging apps.

Google’s Anil Sabharwal, a vice president of Product at the search giant, told The Verge that he wants to add Smart Replies (which Inbox, Allo and Gmail users are already familiar with), Google Assistant, and Google Photos into Chat. Also, GIFs and stickers are also expected features, as they’re practically a standard on most messaging apps.

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SMS is getting replaced by RCS

Chat is based on a new messaging standard that Google has cajoled partners into supporting, the Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services (RCS). RCS is meant to replace the SMS (Short Message Service) that most Android testing is currently working on.

This is Not Another Allo

Google Allo App
Allo App

Google Chat App is not going to replace Allo app. Google is actually putting the development of Allo app on pause.  Allo featured smart replies, Google Assistant, stickers, doodles and larger emoji, but simply failed to failed to break big. Less than 50 million android users chose to use the App but compare that to the total 2 billion Android users that is a paltry sum.

According to Verge instead of continuing to push Allo — or creating yet another new chat app — Google is instead going to introduce new features into the default Android Messages app, like GIF search and Google Assistant. Android Messages will be the default on many (but not all) Android phones. Samsung phones will also support Chat using Samsung’s app. You will still be able to download Google’s app if you’d prefer to use it, though it seems unlikely that third-party developers can create it.

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Chat is Service Rather than an App

 Google Smart Reply
Smart reply in Android Messages preview. Image: Google

Google’s Chat technology will come to life inside of Android Messages, and other apps whose developers opt to support it. Samsung’s own messaging app, for example, will support Chat. You can download Android Messages if it’s not on your phone already.

Google Pixel, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, ZTE and Android One devices already have Android Messages, and back in February, Google announced that Blu, TCL/Alcatel/Blackberry and Essential added their names to the group of device-makers who set Android Messages as the default messaging app.

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Chat Not Very Secure

Chat currently lacks to much recommended end to end encryption. Google competitor however have that feature. A privacy feature that Apple’s iMessage and other apps such as Signal offer. Instead, Chat will follow the same legal standards for message interception as SMS.

Carriers will bring Chat to users

“The fundamental thesis behind the RCS protocol is it’s a carrier service,” Sabharwal says. That means that the carriers will be the final arbiters of what Chat can and can’t do — and whether it will be successful. The good news is that Google appears to have herded all the carrier cats into a box where their Chat services will actually be interoperable.

Currently, the expectation is that carriers won’t charge SMS-style rates for Chat messages. “Messages will work just like any other IP-based messaging protocol. So, in that respect, it’ll just be ‘free’ and part of your data plan,” Sabharwal says. That’s probably true, but it’s definitely outside Google’s control. Any communication standard that depends on the largess of wireless carriers is inherently at risk of getting messed up in dozens of ways, including price.

Carriers supporting RCS
Photo Credit: Google? TheVerge

There is no clue as to whether or not Apple will support Chat. What I am sure about, though, is that since Chat’s less secure than iMessage, Apple is extremely unlikely to replace its own service with this new standard.

The people you message will know if you have Chat, as your texts will revert to the SMS fallback. That’s the same thing that happens now when iPhone users see green bubbles when they text Android users.

The future looks bright for Chat. Time will tell if Chat will over take all other exiting Messaging apps.

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