Google and Carriers Plan to Replace SMS With a New Protocol Called ‘Chat’

Google tried, and failed, to dominate messaging with Hangouts, Voice, Allo, Duo, and even Wave at one point. The next strategy: replacing SMS with the RCS protocol, and calling it “Chat.”

Android users should expect the default Messages app on their phone to get all kinds of new features when this all rolls out: read receipts, full resolution video and pictures, and functioning group texts. Here’s Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

Google has been quietly corralling every major cellphone carrier on the planet into adopting technology to replace SMS. It’s going to be called “Chat,” and it’s based on a standard called the “Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services.” SMS is the default that everybody has to fall back to, and so Google’s goal is to make that default texting experience on an Android phone as good as other modern messaging apps.

A few more highlights from the article:

  • The new protocol will not offer encryption, because carriers do not like encryption.
  • Google plans to make a web desktop interface for the new system, meaning you’ll be able to text from your computer.
  • Microsoft is on board with the plan, suggesting there could be a Windows app.

There’s a lot of potential here, but we’re a ways off from seeing anything tangible. There are a lot great details in the article, so give it a read if you’re curious about what the future might look like.

Justin Pot is the News Editor for How-To Geek. He lives in Hillsboro, Oregon and runs the Hillsboro Signal, which offers local citizen journalism. Follow Justin on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.