Google Messenger is know officially known as Android Messages and will be your default texting app on most Android phones.
The rebranding of Google Messenger was brought on for several reasons including that the name Messenger is synonymous with Facebook’s Messenger app. The change to Android Messages clears up any confusion on that front and Amir Sarhangi, Head of RCS at Google, said that it signals that Android Messages is becoming more like Android itself. They want this app to be the default RCS app that allows Android users to experience multimedia messages, read receipts, group chats and more previously only available on non-SMS apps like Whatsapp, Allo and most importantly iMessage. Google also announced that several carriers are now supporting RCS but the three big ones in the US – Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are not yet. This means that users on carriers that don’t support RCS yet will fall back to standard SMS messages. Also, several phone manufacturers have agreed to make Android Messages the default texting app on their phones which means no more proprietary texting apps from the likes of HTC, LG or Motorola.
It’s also being reported that Google has an “Early Access Program” for businesses to get them on the RCS train. This means that texts from businesses will soon be more interactive rather than just links to external websites. For instance, if you book a flight through American Airlines you will receive your boarding pass right in Android Messages which can be scanned at the airport gate. The goal here is to essentially upgrade SMS technology to RCS technology making texting a rich experience like a non-SMS app. It’s easy for companies to built rich and immersive experieneces in non-SMS apps like Allo and Facebook Messenger because they’re not reliant on carriers to send the messages via text messages. If all carriers start the support RCS, communication between users will be much more interactive and rich no matter what texting app or service they’re using.