INA – SOURCES
Google's version of iMessage is now available to Android owners in the United States.
Google is calling its new service "Chat," and it contains an array of improved tools that mirror Apple iMessage. For example, Android users now have read receipts, an ellipsis symbol that indicates when people are typing and the ability to send higher-resolution images and videos.
Sanaz Ahari, Google's product management director, tweeted last week that people need to update both their Messages app and carrier services to receive the new tools. Chat first rolled out in June to users in the UK, France and Mexico.
Like iMessage, Android users can opt into the service or disable it if they don't want it. All Messages users in the US will be able to use the new Chat features with any phone that has Rich Communications Services (RCS, a successor to SMS) enabled. That includes people using Samsung (SSNLF) Messages and customers on Sprint (S) and US Cellular, both of which enabled RCS on their networks.
RCS has been promised for years, but carriers have been dragging their feet in enabling it on their networks. So Google decided to provide RCS chat directly through its own servers instead of waiting for the carriers to offer them.