Google has established its dominance with several services and products, but there’s one area where the company has utterly failed — Messaging. It is one of the areas where the company has not yet found the right solution.
We have been hearing about RCS replacing SMS texting but nothing has actually happened so far, mostly because of the complicated carrier and phone maker politics. However, that’s changing as Google is now taking over.
Google has announced that Android users in the UK and France will be able to opt-in to RCS Chat service which will be provided directly by Google instead of waiting for network carriers to support it. When users open up the Android Messages app, they’ll see a prompt offering to upgrade to RCS Chat. It will be in the default app and offered to every Android user, but for now, it won’t be the default choice.
RCS stands for Rich Communication Services which can make regular texting more like WhatsApp or Facebook Messager. It can handle things like text formatting, video calls, media file attachments, emojis, and stickers.
One of the biggest drawbacks of RCS is that messages are still not end-to-end encrypted. iMessage, WhatsApp, and Signal are secured in that way, and even Facebook has said it will make all its apps encrypted by default. However, Sanaz Ahari, Product Manager overseeing Android Messages says that Google recognizes the need for the private chat within RCS and is working on it.
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While the service will be available in the UK and France from next month, Google says that it will release the services to more countries “throughout the year,” but hasn’t provided any more details. Sanaz Ahari says that the company’s goal is “a great, simple user experience that just works for every Android user.”