In an age of instant messaging apps including WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger, short messaging service aka SMS is still relevant and thriving as well. Google estimates that about 8 trillion SMS-based messages are sent every year.
It is nothing when compared to the 20 trillion texts exchanged on WhatsApp globally. But it is important to note that the Facebook-owned company along with a handful of others has not been able to make SMS obsolete and irrelevant.
While Apple had made SMS redundant for its users, Android-powered phones are bound to switch to SMS at times when WhatsApp can’t be used. This poses a huge problem for Android-enabled devices that needs an immediate solution.
Who better at finding solutions than Google?
After multiple and a decade-long tryst to build chat products, the Alphabet-owned company once again has taken a leap with ‘Chat’.
Chat seems to be a perfect SMS killer product and is based on Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services.
Google is not completely doing Chat by itself. It has joined hands with all telcos to power its latest attempt to weed out SMS from Android-enabled phones.
Besides 52 other telcos worldwide, in India, it had partnered with Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone including indigenous phone makers – Lava and Intex.
According to Anil Sabharwal, VP of Products at Google, Chat would take at least more than a year to see the light of the day.
“It would likely to take more than a year to launch Chat for masses,”
Importantly, Google has also stopped working on its instant messaging app Allo.
With Chat, Google is eyeing to cover more than 1 billion Android users globally. Currently, India has about 400 million smartphone users, out of which 265 million phones run on Android.
To make this plan of making SMS irrelevant, Google needs to work in thriving smartphone markets including India, Brazil, and other Southeast Asian countries.
However, one waits to see how well Google is able to bring together several competing telcos in any given market under one umbrella (i.e; Chat). It is sure not going to be a smooth ride for the California-based company.
With rising concerns over data privacy regarding Facebook and now, even, WhatsApp, Google will need to ensure that the instant messaging platform would provide complete security to the data of its users.