Google has announced the launch of a new Android messaging in a bid to take on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage.
However, if you value your privacy you will probably want to avoid Google’s latest offering.
Google’s new messaging platform, Chat, designed to replace SMS messages and comes with a host of new features that are not available when sending ordinary text messages.
Some of the features include group messages and the option to send and stream videos and it will also let you know when the recipient has read your message.
Chat will on Android through partnerships with mobile carriers around the world and will be available via the Android Messages app, which comes preinstalled on many Android phones and can also be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
It will be underpinned by RCS (Rich Communication Services), which will enable Google to add the new features mentioned above but also allow users to send free messages to other Android users on different networks.
More than 50 partner companies have already signed up to the new service including the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG. Microsoft has also signed up meaning a desktop version coul be launched on Windows 10 at some point in the future.
Despite its best efforts Google has never quite nailed messaging. In fact, it has a variety of messaging platforms, more than is necessary, with Chat being its latest attempt.
While the launch of Chat has seen Google pause development of Allo, its messaging platform that was launched two years ago, it also has Duo and Hangouts, which can all be used to send SMS.
And while Chat may be its latest offering, it is still missing one major feature, which is likely to put many users off from ever using the service, especially those that are privacy conscious.
Unlike WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage, which all offer end to end encryption, for some reason Google has decided to skip this important feature on Chat.
Whereas messages sent on other popular chat apps are encrypted, meaning that the content of the messages can not be read by third parties, including Apple and WhatsApp.
But messages sent using Google’s Chat service will stored on the servers of your mobile operator, meaning that they could be accessed by say governments, law enforcement agencies and your network provider.
While Chat may draw in new Android users, is it unlikely it will be enough for users to make the switch from Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Google will start rolling out Chat early next year.