It’s a problem. In fact, it’s always been a problem. Google has spent nearly a decade trying — and failing — to fix it with an ever-rotating cast of poorly supported apps. While iPhone users have had the simplicity of iMessage built in, Android users have been left to fend for themselves.
Apparently iMessages is a huge deal in the States. As a European I certainly didn’t feel that way as it took a while for iPhones to really influence my circle of friends and by then tools like WhatsApp and Messenger from Facebook had taken over (side note: I noticed recently that “messenger” appears before Apple’s “messenges” because it gets sorted alphabetically…handy for Facebook).
Chat is not a new texting app. Instead, think of it more like a new set of features inside the app already installed on most Android phones. “Chat” is the consumer-friendly name for Rich Communication Services (RCS), the new standard that’s meant to supplant SMS, and it will automatically be turned on inside Android Messages, the OS’s default app for texting.
Personally, I’d be very happy for an improved messaging situation across platforms and a step away from Facebook’s grip (yes, I know there is Telegram and Signal but have you ever tried to convince someone to use Telegram?) a built in solution is possibly the only solution, still this all seems too late, you need something amazing to move people away from what they use…or the thing you use needs to become rubbish. And this all feels a bit familiar.