Google wants to take on the Apple iMessage and other messaging services such as WhatsApp with its Android Messages. The company is now planning to introduce support texting from the web. A teardown of the Android Messages by Android Police shows the upcoming version of the native messaging service will allow you to pair your phone with a computer for texting, along with a number of other improvements which could overhaul the image and usage of the unpopular messenger.
The strains of the upcoming feature were discovered in the teardown of version: 2.9.050 indicating there will be a new web interface, along with a possibility of Google planning to offer new chat features to work with RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging. However, what grabs the most attention is the feature that will possibly allow you to make purchases from right within Android Messages.
Here’s how each of these enhancements will work. Internally named ‘Ditto’, the messages for web feature will work similar to how Google Allo or WhatsApp functions. You can pair your phone to a desktop or laptop and send messages. It is expected to follow the same setup procedure as well. You will be guided to visit a website, scan the QR code and start receiving messages in the web interface. It will link with the phone to do the actual SMS/MMS/RCS communication through your network provider. Upon pairing, a notification reading ‘Connected to desktop’ will also be shown.
The teardown reveals that you will be able to see a list of signed in computers and disconnect from them at any point in time. The text in the string of code refers to multiple computers, which indicates there will be support to pair both a laptop and a desktop. While it isn’t clear as to which all web browsers will be supported, but it is expected that all mainstream browsers will allow pairing.
A strain for RCS promotion has also been discovered. You will be prompted to “text over Wi-Fi” via RCS. Now it is unclear if Android Messages will allow you to replace the network carrier with another provider, but it appears that the app will itself offer some chat features. The text in the code refers to features including texting through data connection, typing status, read receipts, and sending high-quality photos.
The updated version could make the messaging service a hub for purchases. The teardown suggests Android Messages could soon support purchases as well. The text in the code includes terms such as ‘checkout’ and ‘order summary’, displayed under ‘business payments’ activity, indicating the support will be for interactions with businesses. All of these features are not officially available but you could choose to install the APK version and test out the features for yourself before the formal rollout is initiated.