After years of struggling with messaging apps on its Android devices, Google reportedly hopes to finally catch up to rivals Apple and Facebook by partnering with carriers and device makers.
The Verge last week chronicled Google’s efforts to develop the new standard for Rich Communication Services, the long-sought successor to the embattled SMS. The report said that to date, 55 carriers, 11 manufacturers and two operating system developers — Google and Microsoft — signed off on the new standard, which will be known by consumers simply as “Chat.”
Sprint is already using Chat with some devices, The Verge said, while T-Mobile expects to join in coming weeks. Verizon and AT&T, who formerly held out on endorsing the standard, came aboard in recent months.
The report added that Google effectively halted work on its Allo messaging app in order to focus on developing Android Messages, which will be the default texting app for many Android devices.
Google’s work on the standard suggests that it effectively gave away control of messaging to carriers, and the report noted that the standard will be less secure than Apple’s iMessage.
Google officials, however, suggested partnerships are a feature of the Android ecosystem, and expressed optimism about the potential of Android Messages to work with other Google apps and technologies.
“We are fundamentally an open ecosystem,” Anil Sabharwal, Google’s Product VP and leader of the messaging effort, told The Verge. “We believe in working with partners. We believe in working with our OEMs to be able to deliver a great experience.”