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Google and text messaging - a tragic saga

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by svim, Aug 25, 2021.

  1. svim

    svim Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter



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  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    And this, in a nutshell, is one major reason why I ignore not only Google's messaging efforts but also most new services they announce: because most of them don't last and Google usually lose interest within a couple of years. This particular saga is extreme because there are so many partially related and overlapping attempts here, but the problem is far from restricted to messaging and seems to be part of Google's culture (outside of its core advertising business).
     
  3. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    Isn't this a fly in the ointment?
    We don't like Apple and iPhone, and we also don't like Google and Android!
    What is left?
     
    Milo Williamson and ocnbrze like this.
  4. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    blackberry???????

    LOL i think even their os is dead.....LOL
     
    Dannydet likes this.
  5. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Sailfish OS - though as they've stopped making their own phones that's basically supported on few mid-range Sony's (and support limited to Europe).

    If you are in China there's Huawei's Harmony OS.

    There are a couple of devices with Ubuntu Touch support.

    TBH if you want to avoid the big 2 your best bet is probably to buy an easily unlockable Android model with good dev support and install something like Graphene (official support limited to recent Pixel devices) or Lineage without Gapps (wider range of devices, but still check before you buy).
     
    puppykickr, ocnbrze and Dannydet like this.
  6. svim

    svim Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    Something to keep in mind if you plan on moving to one of the alternatives that don't involve that creepy oversight by Apple or Google will be all the services and such that will become your own responsibility to maintain or pay for -- i.e. Google include at least 15GB of online storage for free with each user account, and that includes email, calendar, contact service, and more also free. If you want to maintain your own email server, just be aware it's not a trivial task and will involve regular maintenance, or if you want to move to a privacy-focused service like ProtonMail than you'll be paying $48 for 5GB of online storage (free ProtonMail includes just 500MB). So yeah, with Google we 'pay' by allowing it to data mine our personal info but if you, say move to a PinePhone to escape the Google-verse, you need to access all the Google services you rely upon now and what you need to implement when you don't.
     
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  7. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I've thought about this, and TBH I feel the main thing for me would be the loss of access to certain types of app (though you can do most things that many apps do using a web browser). But then I've many email accounts (so don't need GMail), don't care about cloud storage, and can easily manage contacts myself. I'd have to go to the effort of setting up my own CalDAV server (I sync a lot of calendars from a couple of labs' agenda systems). But for other people it would be a bigger wrench.

    (I do have one entirely Google-free phone, but it's not my daily driver, more something I play with occasionally so I can understand what I'd need to do if I decided that I couldn't put up with either of the big 2 any more.)
     
    Jfalls63 likes this.
  8. RCG

    RCG Newbie

    Considering that there are at least a gazillion texting apps, I just don't get excited about Google's.

    Use Signal, and make it your default.
     
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    It's not a bad suggestion, and I personally think that Google's app is rather rubbish. But Signal has the same problem as other internet-based messaging apps: you need everyone you want to message to use it (a problem known as the "network effect", which make it very hard to displace incumbents once they become dominant - something key to the big tech companies' business models).

    That's where SMS wins, because it's a standard that everyone has access to. Of course Signal can work as an SMS client, but frankly there are better SMS clients so I use Signal only for Signal messaging. That's also why Apple see iMessage as an advantage (because all iDevice users have it, and it's better than SMS), it's what Google were hoping RCS would do (if you can get it on all devices and networks by default then you have the universality of SMS but with better features plus you weaken Apple's iMessage lock-in, which is also why Apple won't support RCS on their devices).

    The truth is that it's probably too late to improve this situation. The universal solutions (SMS, MMS) are limited (and the fact that in my country some carriers still charge through the nose for MMS makes it particularly unattractive), and the better solutions are fragmented. And with no standards body mandating a better upgrade to SMS/MMS (which, with the plethora of other messaging apps, is I suspect too late anyway) we seem for the time being to be stuck with the current situation of a mess of mutually-incompatible messaging services. I think the best we can realistically hope for is that Facebook are forced to sell WhatsApp at some point, which would at least introduce some diversity of ownership (since outside of China the messaging app market is totally dominated by WhatsApp and FB Messenger. And of course FB understand what network effects mean here, which is why they bought WhatsApp to avoid the risk of getting stuck as a niche player themselves).
     
    Milo Williamson likes this.
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