Google May Soon Launch Browser Client For Android Messages

Google may be preparing to launch a web browser client for Android Messages in the near future, as suggested by the teardown of the 2.9 version of the app the company started distributing to users earlier this week. The investigation of the new APK file conducted by Android Police revealed strings referencing "Ditto," presumably an internal codename of the upcoming browser service, though a number of promotional messages described in the code appear to suggest the platform will be advertised as "Messages For Web," similar to how Google is marketing its Allo desktop client as "Allo For Web."

Besides the naming scheme, the two services are expected to be highly similar in terms of functionalities and will work in a nearly identical manner, the teardown suggests. Much like Allo, the upcoming web client for Android Messages won't be a standalone platform but a desktop shell meant to serve as an extension of one's mobile app, according to the newly uncovered code. The same source indicates the process of setting up Messages For Web will be identical to that of initializing Allo's desktop client, with Google once again opting for a QR activation that will confirm your ownership of the phone (number) that you're trying to use to sign into a new PC. Only one activation per device is required for the service to work indefinitely, though your handset with the Allo app must be connected to the Internet in order for the feature to remain operational. It's presently unclear whether RCS support will be part of the browser-based package, though that seems like a probable scenario. The newly discovered code also explicitly states Messages For Web will work on multiple computers if required.

The 2.9 build of the service hints at some other upcoming features and comes with a number of new references to an in-app payments platform that Google has been developing since at least late 2017. Finally, one of the upcoming Android Messages updates may start promoting RCS messaging more aggressively, as indicated by a wide variety of newly discovered promos suggesting people should try communicating with their contacts over Wi-Fi. It's presently unclear when Google might start implementing the new features into the app, though an experimental rollout may begin even before spring.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]