Google unveiled its first RCS chat to be Android’s texting platform a year and a half ago. Today, however, it is making RCS chat its primary texting platform. It is rolling out to Android users in the US who wish to use it.
What is RCS?
It stands for Rich Communication Services. It works like SMS. It supports read receipts. It also comes with typing indicators and offers high-quality images, as well as enhanced group chats. But it does not have end-to-end encryption, unlike iMessage.
Because it is based on your phone number, it will turn on automatically if you are texting someone with this kind of feature on his/her phone.
Google will roll it out through the Google Messages app. This app, by the way, is the company’s ninth messaging app after it killed the other 8 apps, like Hangouts Chat, Google Talk, Google Voice, etc.
If you are using the Google Messages app, you will see a “Do more with messages” option. Tap it and you can enable chat features. Google stated that it will be available for all US users by the end of the year.
Some of you may think that it is a lame messaging standard. But Google wants your conversations to be more seamless. That’s why it is making its chat features more useful through the use of RCS.
When you message your friends using these chat features, you can do so over Wi-Fi or mobile data. You can also check if your recipient received your latest message. Since it is only available on Messages, you need to download it on the Play Store.
“Earlier this year, we enabled the ability for anyone in the UK, France, and Mexico to get chat features in Messages and we’ll continue to work on bringing this to everyone on Messages around the world. We’re also committed to working with our partners, including carriers and device makers, to provide a consistent and interoperable experience for everyone on Android.” – Google
As mentioned earlier, the service does not use end-to-end encryption. In that case, your carrier could read your messages, even Google could read them. Furthermore, it treats your mobile number as your identity. It gives carriers unnecessary power over your identity.
RCS is basic. That’s why a lot of experts are saying that it is not a great model for a messaging feature. The power of RCS is that it is a default messaging. But Google’s version is not the default as you have to download the Messages app.
The initial plan of Google is to get carriers on board with this implementation. It created such a feature when it bought Jibe Mobile in 2015.
The carriers did not turn over the messaging control to Google. After years of petitioning, some carriers started the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative. They will start to implement RCS together to launch a new app next year.
Google failed at messaging. It is hoping that RCS implementation may help them succeed this time.