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RCS messaging on Android? Free me from my Google messaging mess first – CNET

Google’s Pixel four XL cellphone


Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sorry if I am not getting enthusiastic about Google pushing RCS messaging, its Android reply to Apple iMessage expertise. I welcome the options now arriving within the firm’s Messages app, however I’ve a lot deeper issues after being caught for years in a Google messaging mud bathroom. Together with that, RCS (Wealthy Communication Companies) comes by means of a brand new Messages app that is a step backward from the great components of Google’s expertise.

Folks mock Google’s messaging technique. Proper now its efforts are scattered throughout current instruments like Messages, Hangouts and Duo after abandoning exterminated ones like Allo and Google Speak. My downside with the corporate is way more primary. I am unable to depend on Hangouts or Messages on my Google Pixel four cellphone to do easy issues like textual content my spouse that I am choosing up our child from faculty.

The issue begins with Hangouts. For years, it has been excruciatingly sluggish to load a dialog about half the time I must. Within the take a look at I carried out a couple of minutes in the past, it took about three minutes. This downside extends again to the Nexus cellphone days. Mysteriously, the issue does not afflict iPhones I’ve had, so typically I attain for an Apple machine to make use of my Google messaging service.

Given all of the hassle with Hangouts, I believed I might strive Google’s Messages app. Google is investing in it, and it is obtained the brand new RCS options. That features sharing larger photograph and video recordsdata, displaying receipts after your contact has learn your messages, indicating when your contacts are typing, enhancing group chats and interacting with firm accounts.

Messaging on Android might use the assistance. It is lagged Apple’s iMessage expertise for years, doing a disservice to the lots of of hundreds of thousands of us utilizing Android. However messaging is deceptively sophisticated, and my bother with Google’s companies are emblematic of how exhausting it’s to accommodate totally different carriers, telephones and cellphone makers.

Usually when loading a Google Hangouts dialog on Android, I get to observe this throbber spin for minutes.


Stephen Shankland/CNET

I could not get Messages to work, however Google straightened me out right here: I needed to swap off textual content messages in Hangouts (and possibly mounted the Hangouts ready within the course of). However that simply led me to understand that Messages is, for me, a regression. Briefly, it is incompatible with my multidevice life.

The place Hangouts spans my three laptops, three telephones and two iPads, Messages can deal with just one laptop computer and one cellphone — one with a SIM card put in.

And on that one laptop computer, it may possibly run in just one browser at a time. If I need to apply it to an iPad or iPhone, I’ve to take action through a browser. (Google’s messages.google.com net interface unhelpfully affords a obtain hyperlink for the Android app after I go to with my iPhone or iPad.)

I tried to set Google Messages as my default SMS app, but it turns out Google Hangouts overrides that setting when you set it to handle SMS.I tried to set Google Messages as my default SMS app, but it turns out Google Hangouts overrides that setting when you set it to handle SMS.

I attempted to set Google Messages as my default SMS app, however it seems Google Hangouts overrides that setting if you set it to deal with SMS.


Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

I am a tech journalist, and I do know I take advantage of far more devices and browsers than the common particular person. However it’s not unreasonable to need a service that works on a laptop computer, pill and cellphone. Or on each dwelling and work PCs.

Additionally, I am unable to use Messages with my outdated Android cellphone, which I take advantage of within the evenings and in a single day, as a result of it does not have a SIM card. And there is no Gmail integration.

To modify the Messages net interface from one machine or browser to a different, it’s important to launch the Android app and scan a QR code. It is a ache. It is the type of factor you’d affiliate with a provider or cable TV firm making an attempt to stop you from taking your enterprise elsewhere, not with Google.

Google takes this strategy as a result of the cellphone is the place the info is saved. The corporate says it limits synchronization from that cellphone to at least one browser to be sparing with knowledge utilization and to protect battery life.

That is admirable, however I simply dumped Messages and went again to Hangouts. Google has at all times been a cloud-savvy firm, exemplified by companies like Gmail, G Suite and Google Voice and merchandise like Chrome OS that unchain you from a single machine. That is the messaging fashion I want, and it is what Hangouts delivers.

Hangouts is not excellent. I fear the cloud-centric strategy is incompatible with end-to-end encryption, a privateness characteristic the place Apple messaging nonetheless leads. And it does not work with the RCS from Google and carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Cell and Dash.

RCS sounds good. However I might be pleased with plain vanilla textual content messages if I might simply get them on all my digital units.

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