Google’s messaging strategy has for a while been multi-pronged and rather confused. At some point, we were all not really sure which direction the company was taking with regards to messaging.
It had Hangouts, the chat app that also incorporated no-frills video calls with contacts first as a feature of Google+, its failed social network, and then as a standalone application that also appealed to businesses. Then came along Messenger, the SMS app that was preloaded on the Nexus 6 as Google annexed SMS capabilities from Hangouts.
Last year, the company unveiled Allo, its latest chat app that is driven by the genius of Artificial Intelligence-powered Google Assistant.
To just drive the point home on what Messenger’s target market is (and probably to differentiate it from Facebook’s messaging application that goes by a similar name), Google is renaming Messenger to Android Messages. Simple. Just a name change on the Play Store and not much else. The company does not provide an explanation on what necessitated the name change so we are left guessing.
Android Messages is important to Google as it will be the driver of the future of SMS, RCS. For now, though, those of us who have ties/attachments to other messaging apps like myself, will be sticking with the devil we know while we see what Google does with Android Messages.