Google Chat …
A lot of people use GChat. Gmail is the largest free email service (reference). Since Gmail gives you a free instant message account … you now have a very large
GChat has been an integral part of my life for the last 5+ years. I have used it through 3 jobs, a master’s degree, and living in 4 different states. I use it at work and home and talk to people both young and old (not that young and not that old). I use it on my phone and I use it on my computer.
Yet, when I think of sending a message from my phone to someone (excluding SMS) I think of iMessages, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Line2, etc. GChat is near the bottom of that list.
But out of all of those, Apple’s iMessage gives us the clearest comparable.
Someone truly had a genius moment and said “let’s just circumvent SMS and call it a feature.” They made it so easy. You don’t need to use a different app, specify a protocol, or learn something knew. You just kept on sending SMS messages and then magically some of them had more features.
I mean … that was smart.
I don’t have an iPhone anymore, but iMessage is the thing I miss the most. It’s the same way I felt when leaving BlackBerry.
So, my question: Why didn’t Google turn GChat into a real mobile friendly messaging system?
Everything that iMessage does and accomplish could be done just as easy with Android. While getting Apple to play nice with a GChat centric world would be difficult, it’s not the end.
Now they are playing catchup now with the new Hangouts app … but it’s horrible. Biggest problem is that messages sent over GChat and SMSs are treated very differently and don’t give that unified feeling users are going for.
So rather than spend the time to offer my specific and individual opinion on the matter, I just ask the question. Because I definitely think if there was a company who could make a great universal messaging platform that is tied to a phone number … Google could have.
*Sidebar*: I will admit, it’s probably a partner issue. So much effort has probably been made for Android to play nice with carriers that Google circumventing SMS would probably be bad … but who knows.