It wasn't long ago when Google announced the Duo and Allo apps for Android. Two communication apps, one for video-calls and one for text messaging. Now they're putting Allo on ice, and instead focusing on Android Messages, where Chat will be implemented.
Chat could be seen as iMessage for Android, but that would not be completely true. Chat isn't a new messaging-app. It is a feature that's basically RCS-messaging with another name and that can be implemented in existing SMS and messaging apps. A message sent with Chat passes through the senders and the recipients mobile carriers to verify support for RCS (Rich Communication Services). If RCS is supported on both sides, then a RCS-message is sent. Otherwise standard SMS is used as a fallback. In iMessage's case, the message would go through Apple, instead of the mobile carriers.
The RCS-protocol has been around for a while and many carriers already has support for it, but hasn't yet reached a good user and software adoption. We could definitely see Chat change this.
RCS-messages is superior to SMS-messages and includes benefits like:
When Chat is available for all consumers is so far unknown as it much depends on carriers implementing support for RCS.
Read more at The Verge for more information.