WE’VE BEEN moaning for months about the state of Google’s messaging offering. It’s become almost a standing joke. Who knew – someone actually listened.
OK, we don’t really think the launch of ‘Chat’, Google’s iMessage rival was down to us – we’re not that cocky – but we’re relieved it wasn’t just us that knew something had to be done and the rumours were flying.
The new RCS-based service will finally bridge the gap between chat and traditional SMS.
It’s carrier-based, meaning that you’ll have to wait to see if your network will be opting in, but it’s understood that Google has already worked with 50 carriers on creating the new standard, so it’s likely that yours is probably included.
We should add, at this stage, there’s no indication of who has signed up, though they’ll all play their hands ‘this year’. We’d expect the first tranche at Google I/O coming up in three weeks.
Eventually, Google Chat will pull SMS messages over from a texting plan into your data plan, putting to an end the long and ridiculous cost of individual out-of-bundle SMS once and for all.
It has been estimated that per MB, it’s cheaper to download data from the Hubble telescope than send a text.
There will also be a Chrome extension so you’ll be able to send messages from the desktop as if it were your phone.
With all this newness, something has to give and in this case, it’s last-in-first-out with Allo being suspended. The two-year-old chat platform was designed as a replacement for Hangouts for personal users, but most have elected to stick with Hangouts, or have migrated to Whatsapp, Telegram and the like.
As such, all resources have been pulled from Allo to work on Chat. The service will remain online, but no new features are currently planned.
Theoretically, this is all great news but there are a couple of alarm bells ringing. Firstly, there won’t be end-to-end encryption. What’s with that?
Second, with Allo, Hangouts, Duo and so on all still running, will we see them all accessible from Chat, with cross-compatibility? Because without that, we’re not sure this really is the answer that we’ve been waiting for. µ
Source : Inquirer