Apparently Allo has not been much of a success as Google expected it to be. Google is reportedly working on a new service that operates just like a traditional SMS; but will have all the characteristics and features of apps like iMessage and even WhatsApp.
Chat, the name of the new service, according to The Verge, will link up with the regular text message, and will be available on all Android smartphones. When you send a message from your phone to a receiver, you will get a notification as soon as the message is delivered. Just like WhatsApp, you will know when a person is typing a message.
Sending messages on Chat will be free, but only when you are connected via Wi-Fi. However, cost will be deducted from your data if you are not within a Wi-Fi range. Chat will revert back to normal SMS when you are texting someone whose phone is not Chat-enabled.
To make the rollout smooth and without any hitch, Google is currently arranging with major carriers across the globe to enable them adopt the “Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services.”
Security-wise, Chat won’t be as secured as WhatsApp or iMessage or Signal or even Telegram—it won’t offer end-to-end encryption. According to The Verge, the service will “follow the same legal intercept standards.”
Google has managed to partner with over 50 carriers worldwide, and the spread is across continents. Also, it has the support of hardware manufacturers in its fold and can only hope that its latest venture succeeds.
Google is reportedly developing a web interface to run on a laptop that will then be paired with your phone for sending messages. No official name for the web version has been announced yet, but Android Police reports that it is named internally as “Ditto.” That could however, change when the web interface is officially launched.
The basic set up procedure won’t be any different from that of Allo. As with Allo, you will be directed to visit a website on your PC that you want to pair with your phone, and then be requested to scan a QR code. After that, and just like the web version of Allo, you can start sending and receiving messages in the web interface and it will link with your phone. However, all SMS, MMS and RCS will be communicated through your carrier. I suppose this will also attract charges as well.
Payments and purchases are also coming to Android Messages. When this is sorted out in the next couple of weeks or maybe months, you should be able to settle your bills, and make some purchases the same way you do on Wallet.