It appears that search engine and advertising giant Google is about to make drastic changes for one of its many messaging apps, Android Messages. Since its launch, the app focused on SMS, an older standard of sending messages that is still used by a lot of people, yet fails to favourably compete with modern messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Telegram, to mention a few.
According to Android Police that unearths and scrutinizes code for Android’s application packages (apk), Google may be taking Apple’s iMessage route with Android Messages. First and foremost is the implementation of a web interface, meaning users will be able to link their devices to a PC for sending messages. It appears that the setup will adopt QR codes, which is the same implementation that WhatsApp for web uses. Unlike Allo web interface that restricted users to Google Chrome for a couple of days, it has been revealed that Messages for web will work across multiple browsers.
This piece of evidence is based on apk teardowns, meaning an update is yet to be pushed to the masses or is limited to a number of users for testing purposes. It should also be noted that Google’s other messaging apps such as Hangouts and Allo have had a web interface for some time.
Perhaps the most important addition that will make a lot of people happy is the possibility of rolling out Rich Communication Services (RCS), a protocol that was devised to succeed SMS. Android Police found out lines of code that will encourage users to send text messages over Wi-Fi, which is one of RCS’s features.
Admittedly, RCS has not progressed as people expected due to obvious wrangles with mobile operators. If adopted, it would mean that subscribers will not have to rely on cellular connection to send text messages, which translates to less revenue for carriers. On the bright side of things, RCS has limitless gains including the ability to send high-res images, video and audio messages, create groups, enable WhatApp-like read receipts, show ‘typing..’ status and so forth. These are awesome features and the beauty of it is that they can work on Wi-Fi instead of cellular. Also, unlike iMessage, RCS is a multi-platform that works across all phones and software.
While Google’s messaging apps are a little confusing for basic users, it would make sense for the company to create a web interface version of Android Messages. It would also bring the app up to date with the likes of WhatsApp with less shortcomings based on the limitations of SMS.