Google Chat, the free alternative to WhatsApp: what it is and how it works

Google Chat is the Mountain View company's new messaging system: here's what it is and how it works

The "Chat Features" have finally arrived for all users of Messages for Android, at least those in France, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. We're talking about the now famous RCS messages, evolution of the old SMS.

Google has announced the global rollout of its new chat, with which it aims to compete with Telegram, WhatsApp and Apple's iMessage by relying on the RCS (Rich Communication System) protocol. The new Google chat, in theory, is already available in Italy but, in practice, still no Italian mobile operator really supports RCS messages. In Italy, therefore, there is still to wait while in other countries, Google has officially started to compete with the apps already mentioned. While we wait for our mobile operators to decide to embrace this new technology, let's see what it is, how to activate it and, above all, why do it.

Google Chat: how to activate it

Google Chat, in reality, does not exist: there is a chat feature within the Google Messages app, which is also used to send and receive traditional SMS. However, if the user is connected with a mobile operator that supports the RCS protocol, then they can take advantage of the "Chat Features" included in the app. To do so, however, he must update the Messages and Operator Services apps to the latest version. Then you must set Messages as the default app for reading and sending SMS. At this point you have to check if your operator already supports RCS: just open the Messages app and go to Settings > Chat Features. If everything is ok, then the user can use the Messages app on par with WhatsApp or Telegram.

Google Chat: the advantages

The RCS protocol offers users the same features already experienced on many instant messaging apps: free message sending, ability to know if the other has received and viewed the message, ability to know if he is writing a reply, group chat etc etc. With regard to free messages, however, there is to make a clarification: exchange messages with the "Chat Features" of Google Messages does not cost anything if we are under Wi-Fi coverage. Otherwise, if the exchange of messages takes place under mobile data coverage, then the operator may charge costs.

Google Chat: when will it arrive in Italy

At the moment in Italy there is no concrete news on the activation of RCS by operators, nor of any costs applied. Google, however, is pushing hard on this new communication protocol and could push Italian operators to adopt it as soon as possible. We'll see in the coming months how the situation will evolve.