Google might finally be bringing its default messaging app on Android up to speed with Apple’s iMessage.
No, the green bubbles (sadly) won’t be going away, but Android users may soon have a way to exchange messages via their web browsers.
It looks like a future version of the app will include a web-based counterpart to the Android Messages app, according to code buried in the latest version of the Android Messages app that was unearthed by XDA Developers.
The code hints at a QR code-based system, that would allow Android users to link their phone and PC by scanning a QR code. It sounds like the feature would support a wide range of browsers, as XDA found references to Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Microsoft Edge.
Google declined to comment, but it’s well-known the company has been trying to improve its default messaging app for some time. Last year, the company announced it was working with carriers and device makers to implement a new messaging standard knowns as Rich Communications Services or RCS.
RCS allows messaging apps to support the more “enhanced” features, like stickers and GIFs and location-sharing, that most users have come to expect from modern messaging apps. The vast majority of messaging apps already use this standard, but Android Messages has been stuck on the much older SMS protocol.
That’s a big part of why messaging on Android has been so fragmented. With the default texting app stuck in the stone ages, carriers and manufacturers have been bundling in their own variants — some of which aren’t much better than the default anyway. It’s also why Google has had a confusing array of its own messaging apps, with Allo and Hangouts, both of which support messaging from browsers.
So it would make a lot of sense for Google to finally be implementing a browser-based version of Android Messages. It not only brings its app up to date with everyone else, it makes the whole experience a lot less painful.
Now, if they could just figure out a way to deal with those green bubbles.
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