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Google’s new messaging app might finally be able to compete with iMessage

Published Feb 9th, 2018 10:04PM EST
iMessage vs. Android Messages
Image: Pictures/Top/REX/Shutterstock

One of the features that makes it impossible for many people to leave the iPhone is iMessage. The chat app that works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac has no rival on Android. Sure, plenty of messaging apps offer nearly the same experience, but iMessage is built right into iOS and macOS, and it supports SMS texting as well as instant messaging over Wi-Fi or a cellular networks. iMessage is so good that many smartphone users would love to see an Android version come out, although it’s something Apple will probably never do.

On Google’s side of town, the company’s messaging service is far from offering a legitimate alternative to iMessage. That’s because Google has tried too many different products intended to compete with iMessage, but none of them became a compelling alternative. However, Google may be working on turning Android Messages into an iMessage rival, and we definitely like what we’ve heard so far.

Android Messages, not to be confused with Hangouts or Allo, is Google’s texting app, and a new version of the app will soon be available on your Android device. Android Poilice inspected the code to discover that Android Messages will soon have a computer component as well.

Like WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps that have PC and Mac clients, Android Messages will work on computers going forward. People will have to install a browser extension, or at least it appears that browsers are involved, and then they’ll have to scan a QR code to pair a smartphone and PC. Support for all browsers is listed, which means you’ll be able to use Android Messages on any computer. If that sounds familiar, it’s because other instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Allo, and Telegram also work on computers.

iMessage, meanwhile, works on any Mac or iPad, offering both instant message and SMS support. That means you can send a regular SMS message from your iPad or Mac, as long as they’re in the vicinity of your iPhone. From the looks of it, Android Messages may soon support texting over Wi-Fi too, which should be a great addition to the Android Message experience.

Android Messages is an RCS text app, short for Rich Communication Services, meaning that it supports document transfer such as photos, messaging typing status (you can see if the other persons are typing), as well as read receipts. Finally, Android Messages may support payments soon as well. Not to be confused with sending money to friends using Google Wallet, the feature would allow users to purchase products from companies using nothing but Android Messages.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.