Now that Google is setting aside Allo and Duo to focus on building out a suite of advanced messaging features into the core Android Messages app, it’s time for third-party players to help the search giant deliver these to users. We’re talking about telco operators and phone manufacturers around the globe.
The new unified messaging platform aptly called Google Chat uses the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard which will make it very similar to internet messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber. But, what will make Google Chat better among the mentioned apps is that it’s built on top of Short Message Service or SMS.
RCS is a new universal standard meant to succeed SMS and bring in IP-based messaging features like read receipts, image sharing, and file transfers, but with minimal mobile data usage. It’s going to be like iMessage of Apple devices.
It’s not only Google that’ll be upgrading to RCS because Microsoft is also a partner provider. Both Google and Microsoft will follow the GSMA’s Universal Profile, a specification that guarantees interconnection among different platforms and providers. It’s like how SMS is universally available among all GSM phones.
Here’s the list of carriers to support Google Chat:
- Advanced Info Service (AIS) – Thailand
- Airtel – India
- América Móvil – Mexico
- AT&T – USA
- Axiata – Malaysia
- Beeline – Russia
- Bell Mobility – Canada
- China Mobile – China
- China Telecom – China
- China Unicom – China
- Claro – Latin America
- Deutsche Telekom – Germany
- Etisalat – UAE
- Globe Telecom – Philippines
- Ice – Norway
- Indosat Ooredoo – Indonesia
- KDDI – Japan
- KPN – Netherlands
- M1 Limited – Singapore
- MegaFon – Russia
- Millicom – Latin America and Africa
- MTN Group – South Africa
- MTS – Russia
- NTT Docomo – Japan
- Optus – Australia
- Orange – France
- Personal – Argentina
- Play – Poland
- Reliance Jio – India
- Rogers – Canada
- Singtel – Singapore
- Smart Communications – Philippines
- Sprint – USA
- StarHub – Singapore
- Telcel – Mexico
- Tele2 – Nordic countries
- Telefónica – Spain
- Telenor – Norway
- Telia Company – Sweden
- Telkomsel – Indonesia
- Telstra – Australia
- Telus – Canada
- TIM – Italy
- T-Mobile – USA
- Turkcell – Turkey
- Verizon – USA
- VEON – Netherlands
- Vodafone – UK
And the list of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to incorporate Google Chat and other RCS messaging features:
- General Mobile
- Lava Mobiles
With Chat, Google will finally introduce RCS into Android Messages which is pretty much what most Android phones have by default. This will make sure RCS features will be available on every Android phone — may it be budget or flagship.
Google is under investigation for abusing Android
Dominating the market comes with a price
Google has often been accused of monopolizing the smartphone market with the use of Android. While Android as an operating system is open source and anyone is free to make or use the system however they wish, Google’s push of its apps is a bigger problem.
Android is maintained by the search engine giant and the code is available for everyone’s use. But, Google pushes its range of apps in stock Android like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, YouTube, and more. Many accuse the company of forcing itself upon users and blocking the competition from a fair chance.
India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been reviewing Google’s case for the last six months. The enforcement agency is currently at a preliminary stage and no official release has been made. Google, as well as CCI, have declined to comment.
The European Commission found Google guilty of dominating the market since 2011 and it’s abusing its standard practice of installing Google apps. The investigation led to a US$ 5 billion fine from the antitrust agency.
Google and CCI have met in recent months and the complaint was filled by a “group of individuals.” The agency has a track record of taking years to finish or conclude a case and we never know when a verdict might actually come.
Although, the CCI did impose a US$ 19 million fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position.
Android has a massive 85 percent market share and almost every Android phone ships with Google’s suite of apps. These apps, in return, help the search engine push ads to the user and generate revenue for the company.
EA is looking into making a mobile version of Apex Legends
To battle with Fortnite
EA‘s battle royale game is a certified hit. Apex Legends, which was developed by Titanfall makers Respawn, has no fewer than 25 million registered players in just one week. The game is playable for free on multiple platforms (PC, PS4, and Xbox One), but why not make it available on mobile as well?
Early reports don’t indicate mobile plans for the game, although during the Electronic Arts Q3 2019 earnings call, EA Games CEO said that they are looking into bringing Apex Legends to mobile devices.
Fortnite‘s userbase ballooned when it became available on Android and iOS, so it’s a no brainer than EA also wants mobile gamers to join the fun.
“We are looking at how to take the game to mobile and cross-play over time, and I also expect that this game will have tremendous value in Asia, and we’re in conversations about that,” EA Games CEO Andrew Wilson said during the conference call.
There’s no definite timeline for the release of Apex Legends on mobile, but it’s certainly on the drawing board. For now, EA plans to introduce direct purchase options for players to buy items and new legends or heroes. They will also offer the so-called Apex Packs or simply loot boxes for more random items.
Apex Legends is not a pay-to-win game, so these items are purely cosmetic and can be used to customize your hero’s looks in the game.
Introducing Bumble’s Spotlight: Pay to get to the top of the page
For just two Bumble coins!
You can’t buy your way to true love but you can now buy a top spot on Bumble’s swipe page.
You heard that right. Bumble just announced their new feature and they’re calling it Spotlight. For two Bumble coins, which is around US$ 2, you can get your own profile to the top of the swipe page — the most conducive spot for swiping. Your profile stays there for 30 minutes and people won’t even know you paid for the extra airtime.
Hi Martin! Spotlight is designed to advance your profile to the top for the stack to be viewable by more people instantly. When you use two Bumble Coins to activate Spotlight, for 30 minutes we will shuffle your profile to the top without anyone knowing. 💛
— Bumble (@bumble) February 6, 2019
Similar to Tinder Boost, this new feature allows for a bigger shot at better swiping results. It basically bumps you up in the queue. Remember, though, that you can only pay for being more visible on the app, but the swiping is still left to the other party.
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