Exclusive: Android’s last chance to fix messages

Exclusive: Android’s last chance to fix messages

– Say you have an Android
phone and you want to send a text message, what do you do? Well if you do what most people do, you just open up the Messages app and you tap on an SMS but SMS sucks, it’s only 160 characters and
you never know if they get it and the pictures are bad and just everything is bad about it. Well what else do you do? Well you hope you remember
what messaging app your friend uses and open
up WhatsApp or Messaging or whatever and send it that way. This whole situation is a mess, it’s been that way
since the very beginning of Android, and guess what, Google says that it finally, basically
for the first time ever, has a fix to this whole conundrum and I want to talk about it, but to do that I wanna go inside
’cause it’s noisy out here and I’m tired of walking,
so let’s go chat. Okay, so we’re at a quieter place and I wanna start with the
basics of what is happening here because it sounds really
complicated when you get into it but the end result is really simple. At some point in the next I don’t know six to 12 months, we don’t
have exact timing yet, the default texting app on Android, it’s called Android Messages,
is just going to get upgraded so that it’s going to feel more like iMessage or Facebook
Messenger or WhatsApp or whatever. You’re gonna get read receipts, you’re gonna get high
quality pictures and video that you can send, you’re gonna
get really good group texts, it’s not a brand new
app, it’s just a feature and it’s got a really simple name, it’s called Chat, it’s
gonna be called Chat on every single phone
that it’s available on. So when you open up your texting app, you’ll send a text and
it’ll just magically be this nicer version of
it so I’m gonna explain it in more detail, but you
know what, honestly, before I do that I just want,
just humor me a little bit, I wanna do brief history
of all the crap that Google has tried to make messaging
work on Android, come with me. Okay, so in 2005, Google
launched Google Talk, you might know it as Google Chat, it was really popular, it was really good, so when Android launched in 2008, they included it alongside
SMS ’cause that’s what you do. In 2009, the iPhone got push notifications which made apps like
WhatsApp get super popular and then when they came to Android also, it got popular there so
Google had a problem to solve. So in 2011, they didn’t solve it, they saw Facebook and they’re
like we want some of that so they launched Google Plus
which had yet more chat apps in it, it had Huddle for
text and Hangouts video for video chat, not the same
Hangouts as you know, though. It was just confusing. Anyway, in late 2011, iMessage
and Facebook Messenger launched and they were way
simpler than what Google had and so Google had to fix it
again and so a couple years later in 2013 they launched
Hangouts which took all those other apps and
combined them into a single app and everything was great
for a couple of years and then Hangouts didn’t get updated, Google Plus was like failing,
and they pulled texting out of it and it was just a
big mess again and so in 2016, Google’s like we’re gonna fix it again, they launched Allo for text
chat and Duo for video chat, Duo super popular, Allo meh, not so much. Meanwhile, Hangouts turned
into this like enterprise Slack competitor thing,
I don’t know, whatever. I haven’t even mentioned
Google Voice and Google Wave and all the other crazy
experiments Google’s been doing. It’s been a rolling 10 year disaster and Google has to fix it, I
mean look at all this stuff. What the what? Okay, all that’s ancient history, you don’t need to know about it anymore, it’s still interesting though right? I mean it’s insane. Here’s how RCS, this new chat
feature is going to work, it’s actually relatively simple. If you have Android Messages
and your carrier supports RCS, you’re gonna send a text
and then it’ll shoot up to your carrier server, and
then they gotta figure out where it goes so it’ll go
to a hub that’ll reroute it to the other carrier’s
server, that other carrier will be like oh the recipient has RCS too, and they’ll get the rich message, if they don’t, they’ll get
a standard text message, if they get a text message,
they pay text messaging rates, if they get this special new chat message, it won’t cost anything because
it’ll be the same rates as all their stuff on their data plan but if you’re sending it to somebody who doesn’t have RCS, their
carrier hasn’t supported it yet or yeah if they’re using an iPhone, it’s going to fall back to SMS. If you look at this graphic of everybody that’s supporting it, it’s
a whole lot of carriers all around the world, it’s a whole lot of Android manufacturers,
Samsung’s gonna support it in their default text
messaging app, LG and Huawei are on board, and then if you
look at the operating system providers, we’ve got Google obviously, and hey, look at that, Microsoft is there, I wonder if that means there’s gonna be a texting app on Windows. That all sounds great,
but there’s one problem, RCS chats aren’t protected
from government snooping in the same way that a fully
encrypted chat system is so if you need something fully encrypted, you’re gonna need to use
something like iMessage or Signal. The reason that happens
is RCS chats basically follow the same rules as
SMS, so the data gets stored on the server, and if the
government goes looking for it, the carriers are probably
more likely to give it up, and it’s not like
iMessage where everything is encrypted and they couldn’t possibly give it up even if they wanted to. I want to shift gears here a little bit ’cause earlier we looked
at all of the folderol that Google went through
chasing its own tail trying to figure out messaging, and it seems like they’ve tried everything but they haven’t actually
tried everything, even right now they’re not doing what to me seems like
the really obvious thing, they’re not just making
an Android equivalent of iMessage where you text the message and it goes up to Google,
Google figures out whether or not you’re in
the system and if you are, you get it and if you’re
not, it falls back to SMS. That’s how iMessage works, why aren’t they doing that on Android? The answer, if you ask Google, and I did, is they’ll tell you that Android’s open and they can’t make the default a thing that’s just a Google thing, they actually have to make it available for other people to build
on and if they were to swing their big Android clout around, then people might get
mad and that’s not what Android’s about and it’s a hard
situation that Google’s in, like do you fight every
single carrier on the planet by taking away like one
more piece of their control over what their customers
do or do you partner with everybody and if you’re Google, you’re more likely to partner
with everybody because, I don’t know, you play ball
in a way that Apple doesn’t. If it works, if all
billion of those people have this new text messaging standard, I don’t think Apple can not get onboard, like they’re gonna have
to, they’re gonna become the green bubble, and
that would suck for Apple so I do think that there’s
a really good chance that the iPhone is gonna
pick up RCS support. The billion users of
Android are going to have their own version of the blue bubble and there’s still, I don’t know, a trillion text messages sent a year, and so if they can make that experience not suck because it sucks right now, if they can make that experience not suck, they could win and if Google controls the most popular text
messaging app on your phone, Android Messages, they can get
all the stuff that they want, they can do Google
Assistant inside that thing, and they’re gonna do that, they can have crazy Google stickers, they can have it tie in to
Duo for video chat stuff. The bottom line, I hope,
is that if you have an Android phone, you’re gonna get Chat, and your text messaging experience
is gonna get way better. Is it gonna be as good as I want? No, it’s not, it’s not gonna be as secure as iMessage or Signal, but it’s gonna be a huge upgrade over SMS and honestly, Google deserves some
credit for managing to get 50 something carriers and
few dozen manufacturers to all agree on something,
that never happens, so SMS is gonna get a huge upgrade and hopefully, if we’re lucky, this RCS thing is gonna
finally kill SMS dead. So what do you think? Is this crazy plan of
Google’s actually gonna work or are you just gonna
keep on using whatever text messaging app you use right now? Let me know in the comments, and hey while you’re down there, hit the like button, that’s fun.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Props to Google and if Apple picks this up it will be a selling point for them also. If Apple dose pick this up props th them and props to Google I'm movion to ios this year for its ease of use and how it just works so this would be great to hae on both ios and android working cola berating on this it would make both android and ios better

  2. This is a good idea, but the thing is there are so many different Android phones with their own seperate default messaging app. Unless all the Android phone developers can agree to quit using their own messaging app and adopt the new Google Chat, then this will be another fail.

  3. Good luck with iPhone owners leaving iMessage. You just said it’s not secure as iMessage so why would I wanna get on Android and use rcs when iMessage is secure and encrypted

  4. If they did an iMessage like feature for Android, it may kill Apple a little bit considering how good the S10 is doing

  5. Welp… it’s been a year and the google messaging app ui got worse (I miss the custom color bubbles for each contact). Also it still hasn’t really rolled out.

  6. Not sure how this evolved, but literally every, single, person in the Netherlands uses WhatsApp. Not kidding

  7. SMS has nothing to do with android's restrictions…. in fact SMS been on the market far before android… plus SMS of 160 characters per message is a limit by the network providers and not the mobile OS…

  8. Fact is that many carriers in different parts of the world doesnt provide a lot of text message compared to data package. So people prefer to use watsapp, messenger or any alternative in many parts of the world

  9. Here's the thing: this is a USA thing. All around the world people simply use WhatsApp over regular messaging app. That's why WhatsApp is so popular and we don't feel nothing wrong with it. Even people with iPhone don't use iMessage.

  10. Guess I'll have to stick with hangouts, not a cross platform solution. Hangouts used to have text built in which was great but the took that away what 3 years ago? Unfortunate.

  11. This is not only Google part but also the carrier part. Make it work just like imessage can combine regular sms text and special iMessage channel. I was hoping google does this in Allo, but they left out the carrier SMS being combined.

  12. I am hoping everyone, Apple included, start using RCS, I've been waiting for that for a couple years now I feel like. I'm not too worried about encryption on my messages. But I switch back and forth from an iPhone XS Max and a Galaxy S10 regularly and the texting really is the biggest difference causing me to prefer one phone over the other. That said, it's been 11 months since this video was posted and it's still not a thing. So who knows.

  13. My carrier uses this. Couldn't care less. SMS is fine for text. If I need a group chat or sending images facebook or whatsapp is what 99% people uses

  14. I literally don't know anyone that use other texting app besides Whatsapp, Americans always been the weird ones

  15. It baffling to me how Google puts millions for dollars into something and gets hundreds of millions of folks using it and then just kills it. Hangouts was fine. Why didn't they just continue developing it instead of starting from scratch? Also, Google has no trouble being the big bad when they want to, why would they worry about upsetting people about pulling an "Apple" and creating GoogleMessage? It is not like there are a whole lot of other OSes that half the world is using…

  16. Dieter you should do a follow up to this video. It’s now been over 12 months since this video was released and according to your timeline you gave it should be fully functioning. My Pixel 2XL with Pie still shows it as messaging and not “Chat”. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  17. Why does Google let the carriers/oems control everything? Os updates, messaging. This is why apple will always be ahead. I'm not even an apple user and I can see this.

  18. I have 3 carriers in my country, I asked around support of each one of them when will RCS be available on their network, and only one of them's been supporting it apparently since 2017. (Telenor), and from the other two one doesn't know exactly when will it be implemented, and the other one haven't even heard what's RCS.

  19. 2:29 Hangouts*

    Hangout was/is the video chat that seems to be still in use in some profesional podcast like videos.
    Hangouts was the Chat app that everyone knows.

  20. I already enabled my RCS way before but still can't use it. I still can't send RCS to others who also enabled their RCS.

    My carrier is Globe (Philippines). 😔😔😔

  21. Google should stop trying with their messaging apps, too little too late. It's like Microsoft playing catch-up with windows mobile.

  22. So blue messages mean encrypted, and green messages mean spies are watching. No wonder so many people hate the green bubbles.

  23. Google: OK FINE ya got me there but I'm working on it cut me some slack it's not like I'm getting any younger walks away T.T

    Me: Hands Bohn a shaving cream and a shaver T.T

    Dieter Bohn: Thks heads over to bathroom n shaves away comes out I feel great hum hum 🙂

    Me: Hands him a caramel frappe you owe me one sips on mine walks past Bohn T.T

    Dieter Bohn: Ah c'mon no fair tries to catch up with Kayla -_-"

    Me: Its totally fair >.>

  24. I was honestly considering taking a dip in the Android universe, but this is the video that has convinced me to stay with iPhone. Thank you, The Verge.

  25. Strange Sony wasnt on the list, and they also uses Google Messenger app and has done so for a long long time.

  26. Google could have done this long time ago without rcs. Instead of creating a new standard which will take years to even get started it is already failed from the start. And that is because of Viber and Whatsapp. Instead of chat function in android message thay could implement sub aystem which have encrypted chat like viber by registering phone number. Hidden allo functiond with video chat. But that means that google must invest huge amount of cash and thats the only reason why it doesnt work for google. Android messaging will take 10-20 years to become a standard

  27. I'm using textra simply because i like all the customizing you can do that simply can't be done on android messages especially now but that's just my opinion and my choice of messages app

  28. When is it going to happen? I switched to Android and love everything about it but the text messaging…I hope this comes soon. Thanks

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