Google is hard at work on Android Messages. Earlier this year, the company was caught developing features that would align the app with Apple’s iMessage. Android Messages will soon gain features like cross-device texting and Wi-Fi for backup, assuming the plan goes through.
Now we have more evidence that, while iMessage won’t be making its way to Android, Google intends to create a modern messaging service.
Android Police discovered that the label “Android Messages for Web” is in place. Before, the label was similar but didn’t clearly use Android’s name. There are also references to connecting a Google account for “a more personalized experience.” The belief is that this will enable Rich Communication Services (RCS) without the need for carriers to be involved.
Android Messages should gain a real-time typing indicator, read receipts, and high-quality file transfers.
It looks like the app will get a GIF browser, too. Apps like Gboard already have that type of integration built-in, but Google’s recent acquisition of Tenor makes GIFs even more important. Having a GIF browser within Android Messages would make it easier for users to send GIFs regardless of the keyboard on their phone or tablet.
A lot of this is already offered on Apple’s entire lineup, and longtime Android supporters have been begging for a similar app for years.
The information comes from a teardown done by a media outlet, so Google hasn’t commented on any potential features for Android Messages. But the continuation of development should indicate the company is serious about bolstering its messaging platform. Google could make a major announcement regarding Android Messages at I/O 2018, its developer conference taking place next month.
Rather than continuing to push Allo as a separate app, the company could merge it with Android Messages. Then there would be an all-in-one app for Android devices that handles communications between Google accounts as well as SMS/MMS.
In the past, we’ve also seen outside evidence that Google wants cross-device texting. SMS Connect was spotted as an unreleased app sitting quietly on the Pixel 2. The app would sync messages between the Pixel 2 and a Chromebook; however, now it looks like Google wants the same functionality for all devices with a web browser.
Sit tight, folks. We could be just a few weeks away from Android finally having something to take on iMessage and other messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
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