Google to Replace SMS with Chat Service

Google to Replace SMS with Chat Service”

It supports read receipts, full-resolution photos and video, and group texts, among other features. Chat will be integrated with the default messages app on Android phones.

But messages sent using Google's Chat service will stored on the servers of your mobile operator, meaning that they could be accessed by say governments, law enforcement agencies and your network provider.

Chat is based on a new universal standard called "RCS", or "Rich Communication Services", created to supplant SMS. "With this new Chat service, Google shows a staggering failure to respect the human rights of its customers".

Unlike WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage, which all offer end to end encryption, for some reason Google has made a decision to skip this important feature on Chat.

The new system has been in development for several years, but is now beginning to appear on Android phones.

Read Also: Move over, SMS.

According to The Verge, more than 50 mobile carriers, including Vodafone and T Mobile, have already signed up to the service.

Unfortunately, the new Chat feature, like SMS before it, will not be encrypted.

Google will start rolling out Chat early next year.

In a statement to The Verge this week, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the new service will not use end-to-end encryption and that Google is "pausing investment" in its existing mobile messaging app "Allo" which has an option for end-to-end encryption.

Further, citing the recent Facebook data scandal, Westby said that Google's decision is not only risky but also out of step with current attitudes to data privacy. It means Google will now be actively encouraging Android phone users to give up their privacy by switching to a service where their communications are effectively there for all to see. "They would love to have a direct competitor to Messenger or WhatsApp, but they weren't able to figure out that challenge of getting enough users for it to really take off", he said.

Business Insider reached out to Google for comment on why the new Chat feature lacks end-to-end encryption.

End-to-end encryption is a way of scrambling digital data so that only the sender and recipient can see it and most popular internet messaging services have recently introduced the feature.

Others on Twitter balked at the decision to release the new Chat service without end-to-end encryption.

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