Google has always been interested in messaging. But so far, all of its attempts to come up with a credible competitor for apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger or iMessage have ended in failure. Among the messaging services that have ended up being abandoned by Google are Google Talk, Hangouts, and Google Allo.
Today, it is on the Messages application on Android that the Mountain View company is betting. Instead of creating a new app that it would ask people to download, Google turned the default SMS client that comes preinstalled on Android smartphones into a messaging service.
Indeed, in addition to managing SMS and MMS on Android smartphones, Messages also supports RCS technology. This is a new standard (not belonging to Google) which is often considered the successor to SMS.
Technology makes it possible to have a modern messaging experience comparable to that which we would have on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, or Telegram. And in recent years, Google has steadily improved this RCS support on its Messages app.
For example, like WhatsApp, the Google app allows you to exchange end-to-end encrypted messages that cannot be decrypted during transit through the company’s servers. Other improvements, such as smart answer suggestions or reactions have been added.
And currently, Google is working on a new series of novelties for its messaging application.
Google will (again) stock up on new features
In a recent article, our colleagues from 9to5Google indicated that they discovered a new feature that Google is developing for the Message application on Android. By rummaging through the app’s .apk file, and after some experimentation, our colleagues would have managed to activate this new feature which is still being tested: the answers!
On other messaging services, like WhatsApp or iMessage, you already have mechanisms for replying to a message in a chat. And the good news is that Google is reportedly developing something similar for Messages.
When the feature is enabled, the user can long press a message bubble, which brings up an icon which the user then taps to reply. And like on other messaging services, replies are displayed with a preview of the message that was replied to.
With this future update, Google would catch up a little more behind the Messages app on Android compared to other messaging services. And that’s not all, since Google would also consider improving reactions on this app, allowing users to react with any emoji.
Another improvement that would be considered by Google concerns the display of photos. A future version of Messages could offer a gallery display when the user receives several photos.
Besides that, the firm would like to offer a rather unique feature for voice messages. This would automatically transcribe the contents of these voice messages, allowing the user to read instead of listen. Handy at meetings!
But for the moment, we do not know when these new features will be made official by Google. It is still possible that the firm will make announcements in relation to its messaging service on October 6, during the presentation of its new smartphones: the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro.
In any case, what is clear is that Google still believes that its application has a chance of winning.
Apple always says no
Currently, RCS technology is supported on Android smartphones that have the Android Messages app pre-installed. On the other hand, Google has agreed with Samsung so that this technology is also supported by the Galaxy smartphone messaging app.
On the other hand, when a user of the Messages app on Android communicates with an iPhone user, it is done via SMS. And unfortunately, while Google claims interoperability between Message on Android and iMessage via RCS technology, Apple flatly refuses.