With Android Messages, Google challenges WhatsApp, Facebook and iMessage

Google has announced it is replacing the default Messages app on Android with one called Android Messages.

However, as much as that could clear up confusion with Facebook Messenger for Android users, it’s more than just a name change.

Google reckons it has more chance of competing with the messaging big guns thanks to the addition of Rich Communications Services, or RCS.

Related: Android Nougat review

RCS means Android Messages (now available from the Play Store) now enables group chats, read receipts and the ability to share high resolution imagery.

A bunch of manufacturers have now agreed to use the Android Messages app instead of their own default texting solution and that could be the key to its adoption.

Among them, Google says, are LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, Nokia, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, Lanix, LeEco, Lava, Kyocera, MyPhone, QMobile, Symphony and Wiko and, of course, its own phones.

Network carriers jumping aboard include Sprint, Rogers, Telenor, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Globe, and Vodafone, giving the company access to half a billion users globally.

Unfortunately for Google, as it finally seeks to make a success out of a messaging app of any description, Samsung isn’t on board. Neither is Apple. Neither are Verizon and AT&T, the two dominant networks in the United States.

If you text someone whose phone doesn’t accept the RCS standard, it’ll simply default to a common SMS or MMS.


Can Google finally make a success of a messaging app, despite the complications related to RCS? Share your thoughts below.