Google has released more messaging apps than I can remember (Allo, Android Messages, Messenger, Hangouts, Gchat, the list goes on), but the company has never been able to come up with a single service that can easily handle your messages on all platforms the way iMessage does for iOS and Mac devices. Now, Google may have finally figured it out by copying one of Apple's best features: Desktop SMS messaging.
The latest update to Android Messages doesn't change much, but it includes some interesting code that could pave the way for future features. Android Police dug into the update to reveal that Google is getting ready to launch a browser-based version of Android Messages for desktop and laptop computers. That would make it possible to send SMS messages to phones through your computer, similar to how iMessage let's your text your Android-using friends from its Mac app.
If it wasn't for iMessage, I would have ditched my iPhone for Android years ago, but because the rest of my family (and most of my friends) use iOS devices, I'm locked into Apple's world. Otherwise, I would be missing out on iMessage-only group chats (I know it's pathetic, but it's true).
Allo, another messenger app from Google, also comes with a web-based client, but it can't send SMS messages. So unless your friends are on Allo, too, that's pretty much useless. With Android Messages, Google could finally solve this problem and offer a cross-platform messenger that actually works.
There's no word on when (or if) the new feature will launch, but Google goes into plenty of detail on how it might work. According to Android Police's report, Android Messages would be available for almost all the major browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Opera.
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Syncing computers with Android Messages should also be a pretty easy process, and you'll get a notification every time you add a new one. It appears to support multiple computers as well, so you'll be able to send SMS messages from your desktop at work and your laptop at home. Finally, Google will apparently make it easy to check which computers have access to your Android Messages account and remove any that shouldn't be on the list.
Once the new feature launches Google may finally have a real competitor to iMessage. It may even be enough to convince some people to ditch Apple altogether.