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Commentary: Here’s what you need to know about the new Google Messages VS Apple iMessage

iMessage has been raved as one of the favourite Apple-only features found on their devices. The inbuilt messaging platform brings about many impressive features such as full resolution media, synchronisation across iCloud devices and end-to-end encryption. Not to mention the personalised animojis and everything else Apple.

Google Messages strives to do the same, with RCS (Rich Communication Service) messaging to rival Apple’s message encryption. Android phones (which includes Huawei) will receive this feature, with Apple left out without signing the RCS approval. In the US, Google Messages will be the default SMS app on Android phones, and international devices might follow suit shortly.

Basic access across most devices

Regardless of platform, Google Messages can be accessed by the web platform. iPhone or Huawei users might have to use this method to take advantage of this new chatting feature.

Given that Apple has not signed the RCS (despite prompts from Google) and already have an ecosystem of their own, Apple devices will have to use the lite version through the web. Huawei users might have to adopt a similar method or obtain the app through third party ways.

Going beyond mainstream chat features

Similar to what was covered in a previous article on Google Workspace, Google Chat will now integrate the editing feature for Slide Presentations. Google’s chat software will also include the use of emojis in novel ways, meant to recreate the effect that Animoji may offer.

Google is also said to include optional auto-OTP deletion after 24 hours and “SMS Categories”. The former will help to improve security and resolve cluttering issues while the latter will group conversations in sections such as “Transactional” and “Personal”.

International availability and compatibility

Google Messages is internationally available from the Google Play Store, for devices (including compatible Android Wear) running Android 5 and above. Either WiFi or Cellular Data is required to send RCS messages, or the messages will be sent via SMS instead.

In 2020, telco companies in China have announced its replacement of SMS with RCS – the same standard used by Google Messages. However, most Google Services such as Google+ and Hangouts are blocked in the Mainland, and it is uncertain if Google Messages will follow suit.

iMessage, on the other hand, is fully supported within Mainland China. Users can send and receive messages with users outside its borders, with support for full-resolution media and Animojis.

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