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Home / Technology / Stop being jealous of iMessage. How to Use Google SMS on Android Phones

Stop being jealous of iMessage. How to Use Google SMS on Android Phones


The Google Messages app has a lot to offer, and is always getting better.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Talk to almost anyone iPhone their owners about their favorite features, and it’s almost a guarantee that they mention iMessage, which offers the standard SMS app with a handful of useful and enhanced features, including smart group threads, sending and reading receipts, Wi-Fi messaging, and full-resolution photo sharing. So where do you leave that Android?

Thankfully, Google’s messaging skills are catching up. Just last week, Google increased reactions to chat conversations, letting you love or cherish a message, just like you can in an iMessage or Facebook Messenger conversation.

The technical name drilled for the service is RCS messages, but more commonly, and easier to remember, Google is referring to features as Chat. If you’re not using it now, you’re missing out. Many of the most popular features of iMessage are integrated into Google Chat, which in itself is baked in the Google Messages app, including the ability to send and receive messages from your computer.

In order to use the features, you must use the Google Messages app, not your phone’s branded SMS app. We’ll show you how to make your default Text Messaging app if you haven’t already, what text features you have and how to start using Google Chat messaging on your Android phone.

Even Samsung is getting into the act. It recently announced that its Messages app will soon begin using the same RCS technology that is available in Google’s Messages app. If you own Samsung Galaxy Phone, your best bet is to use the Google Messages app for now, at least until Samsung completes its introduction. We will update this post as we learn more.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to do to tune in to the new feature, as well as some of the more nuanced aspects of Chat.

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Start with the Google Chat feature

First, you will need an Android phone with the Google Messages app installed and set as the default text messaging app. The first time you launch Messages, it asks you if you want to set it as the default app. Follow first and don’t worry, don’t miss your conversation story by switching.

After setting Messaging as your default messaging app, take a few minutes and set up Messaging for the Web, which allows you to send and receive messages from your computer.

Chat will work in the United States, the United Kingdom, France or Mexico. There is no official list of countries, but Android Police received reports from users in Italy, Portugal, and Singapore were also able to use the Chat. Android Central also has a list of respective countries and carriers that offer support.

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You need to use the Google Messages app itself to take advantage of Chat.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Turn on Google Chat features

After installing the Google Messages app and setting it as the default SMSs app, there are two different ways to be Chat. You can either wait promptly in the Messages app asking if you want to see when your friends are typing, or you can enter the Settings Messages section and look for the change to turn on Chat.

When you get prompt, tap Update now then follow the instructions and enter your phone number if requested. Alternatively, you can also open Messages and tap on the three-point menu button (top right corner of the app) and select Settings > Chat Features.

This same settings page is also where you can turn or turn off your reading receipts, as well as disable the typing indicator whenever you type and check what happens if Chat fails to send a message. .


Be sure to customize your Chat settings.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

If you encounter issues with the sending message, you can also see the current status of your phone’s connection to the Chat service in the settings section of the app. Until he says Connected, your phone number is registered with Chat and should use the service whenever you are talking to a contact who also has Chat enabled.

That’s an important aspect of Chat. Anyone talking will also have the feature powered on their device to use the new chat features, although of course all the usual SMS features still apply.

You’ll be able to take advantage sooner by bringing together your friends who use Google Messaging. You can guide them through the setup process (or send them a link to this post).


Most Messages app looks the same.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use the new Chat features in a conversation

After you turn on the chat features, the Messages app will continue to work and look the same, and you should keep using it the same way you always have. The app knows when you are talking to someone via text or other contact with a chat on.

The easiest way to tell if a conversation is using old-fashioned text messaging or new chat features is to look at the text box before you start typing. If the box says “Chat Message” then the conversation will have typed indicators, read receipts, and the rest of the features that RCS Messages offers.

To use the new feedback feature, click on a message until a bubble pops up, presenting a few different options, including such as, love, laughter or anger.


It’s pretty easy to see when you’re going to send text, or use new Chat features.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

When chat features are used, you see the receipts delivered and read below each message you send, and you can send photos in full resolution and share files with fellow chat users. You don’t have to do anything special to send a high-resolution image, just tap on the photo icon in the app and grab a photo or video. You should see a load loop on the image as it is uploaded and sent, but otherwise the process looks and works the same as sending a text message.

Because Chat works on mobile or Wi-Fi data, you can put your phone in airplane mode and still be able to send and receive messages with other Chat users.

Switching phones? Be sure to turn off Chat

Just like Apple’s iMessage tries to hold on to your phone number if you forget to turn it off, so does Chat. Before removing the SIM card from your phone, be sure to turn off Chat. If you forget to turn off the chat features before moving your SIM card to a new phone, the chat features may continue to work for eight days. Meaning, you can’t forward messages sent to your number by someone using chat.


Keep in mind that it is not encrypted.

Angela Lang / CNET

Disable Chat by opening Settings > Chat features in the Messages app and switch the switch next to it Enable chat features towards the Off position. I suggest you wait a few minutes after it shuts down for Google’s servers to process the request, and make sure your number doesn’t get stuck in limbo.

Note: Your messages are not encrypted

Google does not currently encrypt your conversations with fellow chat users. Conversations are securely sent from your phone to the Google server and then to the recipient’s phone, after which the messages are deleted from the Google server, but those messages are not encrypted end-to-end. -end.

You can use apps like WhatsApp and Signal, or Apple’s iMessage if you prefer end-to-end encryption.

If Google Chat is still not enough to keep you on Android, switching to an iPhone is easier than you think. However, if you’re completely happy with Android, we have roundup of the best apps in 2020, along with a handful of our favorite features coming to Android 11 when it is officially released later this year.

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