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Chat is Google’s attempt to bring text messages on par with WhatsApp and others

This article has been rewritten after it was pointed out that the previous version had factual errors Google is taking another shot at getting a foothold in the messaging space, this time though, the company's solution is not another messaging client (remember Allo, Hangouts, Google Talk etc.), rather it's an evolution of the traditional SMS called Rich Communication Services (RCS). The company's newest effort to sort out messaging on Android is being called 'Chat'. With the RCS protocol, the good old Android Messages app (standard SMS app on most Android phones) will get a slew of features that are standard on clients like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and others. The previously vanilla SMS app will now have features like read receipts, live typing indicators, high-resolution images/videos, and group texts Carrier-driven messaging service: not encrypted However, Chat will be a carrier-driven service and the carrier's laws will apply. Therefore telcos may charge for this as they do with SMSes, and critically messages will not be end to end encrypted. This means that all messaging data gets stored on a server that can be accessed by the telecom carrier and also law enforcement or the government if necessary. Services like WhatsApp and Signal offer end-to-end encryption, where even the platform creator cannot read the messages between individuals. Google has partnered with 55 carriers, 11 manufacturers, and two operating system providers have all pledged to either adopt or switch over to the system. Among the big players, this includes Microsoft and Samsung. From India,…

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