Not too long ago, it was found that Android Messages – the default SMS app on Google Pixel and Nexus phones, as well as many Android One and near-stock Android devices – could soon be getting a web client for use online. Today, in a story first covered by The Verge, it seems that the SMS app is in for a massive overhaul that could see it more closely function as iMessage for iOS does. And as a part of this, Google has shared an image of what that web client for Android Messages will look like as well.
The reason this is significant is because going forward, Android Messages will function more like its counterpart on iOS; it will combine SMS with internet-based chat, letting you use the app as an instant messaging platform when you have internet connectivity on your smartphone. If the recipient of your messages is also an Android Messages user, chats will go through as instant messages rather than SMS, thus being sent free of charge as is the case on WhatsApp, Telegram and a host of other similar services.
The specific use of the web client means that you’ll be able to use Android messages even on your PC, which will act as a mirrored screen for your smartphone. Chat history, contact information and shared media will be retrievable on the PC through your web browser as well. However, the biggest news is that the new app is likely to be called ‘Chat’, and will be a complete overhaul of the Android messaging system.
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Currently, messaging on Android is heavily fragmented, and users tend to prefer third-party applications like WhatsApp for their better reach and user base. Messaging is divided between Hangouts, Duo, Allo and Messages, which all serve specific purposes. The new platform could integrate all messaging into a single app that does everything.