Is Google working on an iMessage competitor?

android messages improvements phones textting one another
Olga Lebedeva/123RF.com

Both iOS and Android have their strong suits, but one of the biggest selling points of Apple’s operating system is iMessage. The built-in message app allows users to seamlessly transition from their iPhones to Mac computers. There are plenty of third-party Android apps that provide similar features, but now there are rumors that Google may be developing its own.

Google has tried to compete with iMessage several times before. The company’s efforts have always fallen short, however. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Google has so many different messaging services, ranging from Android Messages to Google Hangouts.

However, Android Police found something interesting in its recent teardown of an upcoming Android Messages update. It looks like Google is working on a desktop version of Android Messages. Based on the reports, the desktop version of the app will work within a browser extension, though it looks like users won’t be limited solely to Chrome.

The project is currently going by the codename Ditto, but the launch title is expected to be “Messages for Web.” In order to make use of the service, users will simply use their Android phones to scan a QR code, which will then link their chosen laptop or desktop to their smartphone. This should allow users to carry their conversations between multiple their computers and smartphones.

Another upgrade that appears to be in the works is the ability for users to send texts over their Wi-Fi networks. This has long been a feature of iMessage and it looks like Android will be getting the same treatment in the future.

There is also evidence that Google is setting up a payment system to work within Android Messages. This feature looks to be a bit different than Google Wallet, which allows users to transfer money to friends and family. This new payment system will allow you to buy items from various companies within the Android Messages app.

Google has not made any official announcements regarding the future of Android Messages, so the above should be treated as informed speculation until Google officially confirms the existence of a web app for Android Messages.