Google Launches ‘Chat’ App To Rival iMessage

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Search engine looks to resolve messaging element for Android with the launch of its ‘Chat’ app

Google is to bring Apple iMessage rival to market with the launch of its ‘Chat’ app, that will be based on the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard.

And it seems that Google is also ‘pausing’ its investment in its artificial intelligence powered chat app called Allo, which was launched on Android and iOS smartphones back in September 2016.

Chat will join four major competing messaging apps from Google, namely Hangouts, Allo, Duo, and Android Messages.

Chat app

But now according to the Verge, which obtained an exclusive interview with Google’s new head of its communications team, Anil Sabharwal, Google has taken the decision that due to the slow takeup of Allo, it is “pausing investment” in its consumer-facing messaging app.

The Allo workforce will reportedly be transferred to other projects and all resources will be moved to the Android Messages team.

And it seems that the Android Messages app will power the RCS platform that Google has been developing.

“Google has been quietly corralling every major cellphone carrier on the planet into adopting technology to replace SMS,” reported the Verge. “It’s going to be called “Chat,” and it’s based on a standard called the ‘Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services.’”

So Chat is not just another messaging app, but instead it is a “carrier-based service” that will be turned on by default inside the Android Messages app (if your carrier supports it).

This means it will consume a person’s data plan, and not their SMS entitlement.

Chat will be going up against the likes of WhatsApp and Telegram, but surprisingly it will not offer end-to-end encryption, as it follows SMS-like legal intercept standards.

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.”

Google recently launched Hangouts Chat, an enterprise messaging app to take on Microsoft Teams and Slack.

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