Google 'pausing investments' in messaging mobile app Allo, claims report

The company has tried to introduce its own rich messaging client in Android on several occasions, including integrating Hangouts with Messages (when it was called Messenger), and launching two new apps in 2016 called Allo and Duo.

The way you get Chat is pretty simple: inside Google's own Android Messages app, your carrier will enable RCS communications which will daisy-chain to Chat. Google's Chat is based on the RCS (Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services) protocol which it is hoped will succeed SMS. Additionally, Google can add numerous features from the modern messaging apps such as read receipt, support for high-quality media, group messaging, etc to the Android Messaging app, making it at par with iMessages.

Google has had a long and hard journey trying to build a messaging platform for Android.

Mobile operators, manufacturers and developers will be able to use the technology to create compatible messaging apps.

If you're texting someone who's on a carrier that doesn't support Chat, then it'll switch to a traditional SMS, much like iMessage.

RCS requires carrier and handset implementation to work, though it can use SMS as a fallback, if needed.

Whether Apple is willing to jump on to the Chat bandwagon is something that remains to be seen. So for anyone that relies on encrypted messaging services, Chat won't solve your problem like iMessage will.

For mobile phone operators the move offers one last chance to ensure they do not end up simply as dumb data pipes providing the internet access through which others offer the services users demand, be it voice, video or text chat.

Sabharwal did stress that the arrival of Chat doesn't mean that Allo will be shut down anytime soon, and he said that Google is "continuing to support the product".

We're still not sure why Google can't just make the answer to iMessage everyone would prefer, but this new Chat app should be an upgrade at least.

Unlike numerous best messaging services, RCS, and by extension Google's Chat, is not and will not be encrypted.

Microsoft is on board with the plan, suggesting there could be a Windows app.

Chat is also a carrier-based service, which means carriers around the world have to implement it, and that's what Google is pushing towards. That said, sources speaking to The Verge claim that the company is now in discussions with Google about supporting RCS. If your recipient doesn't have the technology turned on and you send a text over RCS, it'll default to SMS, similar to how iMessage works on iOS.

And for good reason. iMessage has read receipts, awesome visuals, a robust amount of gimmicks, and is in encrypted.

  • Arturo Norris