- The latest version of Android Messages hints that you might be able to send messages from your computer.
- It also hints at RCS capabilities and Google’s RCS infrastructure.
- These features could be enabled in future updates.
Compared to Hangouts and Allo, Android Messages does not have much to offer apart from using SMS for texting. Thanks to Android Police‘s APK teardown, however, the latest version of Google‘s texting app lays the groundwork for a web interface and much more.
It seems you will be able to go to a webpage, scan a QR code, and have the web client connected up to your phone to let you send text messages from your computer. This is similar to how Allo and WhatsApp connect your phone with your computer. Multiple browsers and computers may also be supported.
Android Police also found code for a pop-up that reads, “New! Text over Wi-Fi and data.” This is as close of a mention to Rich Communication Services (RCS) as we have seen with Messages.
RCS lets users share their location with each other, as well as attach high-resolution images, videos, and audio. Users can also archive group chats, remove members from group chats, and enable things like read receipts and typing indicators.
More significantly, RCS supports Skype-like video calls and audio messages, as well as private chats between two parties. This is because the protocol uses a data connection instead of carriers’ signaling systems, which allows RCS to hardware-agnostic and be used to send or receive messages over Wi-Fi.
RCS typically requires carrier implementation. However, there is another line that reads, “Chat features are powered by Google. By continuing, you accept to the %1$s.”
This could mean that Google will handle at least some RCS functions, such as high-quality photo sharing and texting over Wi-Fi and data. If true, Messages could finally be the iMessage competitor Google wants it to be.
Alternatively, this could be code to enable RCS for Google’s own carrier, Project Fi. This could also be Google beefing up Messages’ existing RCS capabilities and allowing carriers to use RCS without needing the proper infrastructure.
We will find out for sure once Messages is updated with the new features. For now, you can download the latest version of Messages as an APK.