SMS was simple: 160 characters and comes standard with all phones and supported by all carriers. It was ubiquitous. Over the years, though, simple wasn’t enough. We wanted all the bells and whistles. We wanted group messaging, pictures, videos, music, gifs, and now stickers, fireworks and balloons. The SMS standard couldn’t keep up and stopped innovating. It didn’t help that the carriers were charging for text, which allowed for disruptive companies like WhatsApp to form. Free messaging: what a concept.
What we have now is a buffet of messaging choices, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and the biggest of them all, iMessage, to name a few. Google even has several of its own: Allo, Duo, Hangout, and Google Voice. As Wired reports, Google is working on another, Google Messages (formerly Google Messenger), which it is trying to equip with RCS. With so many messaging apps, Google’s vision of messaging seems muddled to say the least.
You could say Google has a different ideology and approach things differently than Apple, for example. Sure, and Google is incredibly successful and has the capital to experiment, even if it means having multiple messaging platforms. If you can’t beat them in adoption rate, give them more choices and win with volume.