Here’s why Google Messages serves as an excellent alternative to WhatsApp

The battle between iOS and Android may be the most intense at the texting end, which Google has long sought force Apple to take over its RCS (Rich Chat Services) by default. But the Cupertino company don’t want any of it. However, the battlefield is different in India – iMessage isn’t really a thing here, so Google Messages’ biggest rival just happens to be WhatsApp. The competition started when Messages rejected its SMS-only approach and added features like read receipts and type indicators with RCS in an effort to get ahead.

Features aside, Google Messages is now also the default texting app for most Android phones, which means it’s easy to get started with it. You also don’t need to convince anyone else to install it as it will probably come pre-installed on their phone. But should you make the switch? Read on to make up your mind.

First, what is RCS and how to turn it on

SMS has been around for over two decades now and is starting to show its age. Sure, it gets the job done with its 160 character limit. But for longer texts, large images and animated stickers that everyone likes to send, the protocol falls short. Therefore, to keep up with the times, Google join hands with phone manufacturers and providers to develop a new standard called RCS (Rich Chat Services). This standard allows users to create group chats, view typing indicators and read receipts, and much more.

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On Google Messages, you can enable RCS by tapping the profile icon in the top right corner > tap Message Settings > Chat Features > Enable Chat Features.

What Google Messages does right

Message categories

Categories on Google Posts make it a lot easier to find texts when there are a ton of them

If you barely use Google Messages, you’ll be surprised how far it’s come when you dig a little deep. Aside from the new icon, the other most notable addition you’ll notice when you launch the app is the new categories at the top. Since the app still supports SMS, you’ll naturally want to separate all spam from the personal SMS. And that’s where the “Personal” category comes into play.

Smart quick responses

google messages suggestions Smart responses are processed and generated on the device

Smart Replies are perhaps the biggest advantage Google Messages offers over other chat apps. Like Gmail, Messages can generate several possible responses to a text, saving you some time. These responses are generated by your device and none of your texts are sent to an external server.

Scheduled texts

Scheduled texts are another big reason to use Messages. Suppose you want to be the first to wish someone a birthday or remind someone to do something at a certain time. Sure, you can wait to text them when the time comes. Or you can choose the smarter route and use scheduled texts. Just type your text in the field, tap and hold the send icon, set a time for the text to be sent – and let Google Messages handle the rest.

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google messages schedule messages Scheduling texts is the best way to be the first to wish someone their birthday


If someone texts you asking you to do something at a certain time, you’ll want to set a reminder for it so you don’t forget. Just press and hold the text and click the alarm clock icon that appears at the top of the action bar. When the time comes, you will receive a text notification.

Universal chat app

Google Messages is preinstalled on almost every device Android phone these days, and it usually can’t even be removed. This of course means that whatever you forward always ends up with the other party. And just in case they don’t have Messages installed, your text will be sent anyway – as SMS.

google messages stickers Google Messages comes with a huge catalog of built-in animated stickers and GIFs

Other possibilities

Other features include Material Your dynamic theme support, end-to-end encryption, group chats, swipe-to-reply, typing indicators, read receipts, voice messages, message responses, and file sharing up to 25 MB.

Where Google Messages falls short

Despite Google’s best efforts, there are still a few relatively basic features missing, preventing the app from becoming a true WhatsApp replacement. You can’t set your own profile picture, you can’t send live location, you can’t unsend text messages or view online status. But if the absence of these doesn’t bother you, Messages can be the perfect WhatsApp alternative.

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