Google is making yet another effort at giving Android the ultimate messaging platform. The company has unveiled Chat and you’re not to confuse it with Google Chat, which used to be on PCs. Chat is now the brand name Google will use for the Universal Profile features in RCS, which is a standard for SMS texting. It allows Android to get features similar to Apple’s iMessage on iOS.
The company apparently has 55 carriers onboard for this, along with 11 OEMs and two operating system distributors. The OS distributors are Microsoft and Google, so the company will still need to try and get Apple onboard, and if history is any indicator, that’s not likely to happen any time soon.
Needless to mention, we have all seen the popularity and usage of apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, while SMS use has gradually declined. According to The Telegraph, a 2014 study by London-based Accounting and Management consultancy Deloitte, reveals that SMS messages in the UK fell by 7 billion while messages sent with "instant messaging apps" (IMs) grew by billions. For instance, the same study reflects that IMs surpassed 150 billion per day last year in the UK as compared to nearly 50 billion in 2012. The research further predicts that apps like BBM, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and WeChat will carry 50 billion messages per day globally. This is equivalent to more than twice the number of messages sent by text. It's therefore only a matter of time before actual SMS, which many carriers still charge separately for, becomes totally irrelevant.
Chat on the other hand, will be the Android messaging app now and will run on data instead of your phone’s regular SMS options. The app will also allow you to send regular text messages, just like Apple’s iMessage does. So, as long as the recipient has support for RCS as well, you will be able to send richer texts to them.