Last time you sent a text message using your Android phone, chances are you used the native Google Messenger app that shipped with it. Now that is bound to change after Google announced that the app will be replaced by a new SMS application called Android Messages.
Rebranding Or Replacement?
Some are calling the move a rebranding, pure and simple. For this crowd, Google is merely changing the name because why not? The massive tech company could spend millions of money obsessing about naming conventions and how it correlates with whatever market data it has and we could not care less because it has the resource to do it.
However, the name change appears to have been prompted by a more remarkable improvement. While we cannot say at this point if Google has built the new or rebranded text messaging app from the ground up, there is still the fact that it worked to integrate the so-called Rich Communication Services.
Universal Text Messaging Standard
This technology is curious because it requires the cooperation of carriers for a so-called universal messaging platform. It is reportedly aimed at improving the overall messaging experience possibly to challenge internet-based messaging apps, including Apple's iMessage.
According to Google, the change should underscore the way the Android native SMS app is about to become like Android itself in the sense that it will become a collective effort by the industry. Strangely, some of the leading U.S. carriers are not yet identified as partners. Sprint, however, has adopted it last December while T-Mobile has reportedly announced it will jump into the RCS standard bandwagon later this year.
Android Messages Features
What this means is that the Android Messages will be able to increasingly offer features found in applications like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber, among others. These include group chat, media file sharing, picture messages and location-sharing. The word is that users could even enjoy all these functions even when they are in a phone call. It will also include the capability to use the Wi-Fi network to send messages.
Again, it is important to remember that the slew of SMS apps today can only send photos or MMS, GIFs and emoticons. Sometimes, these limited media could even take ages to send. This is probably the reason why Google has rounded up carriers not just in the United States but also around the world.
At this point, Android Messages is already capable of RCS and is available for download at the Play Store. Digital Trends, however, noted that the app is still hampered by the fact that carriers and handset manufacturers still deploy their own SMS apps. So the recent rebranding and the standardization initiative should lead to improved and richer SMS messaging in the future as these carriers begin to adopt Android Messages for a more seamless texting for the Android public.