Published: Fri, November 15, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google upgrades Android texts to RCS without carriers' help

Google upgrades Android texts to RCS without carriers' help

Google has announced the commencement of Rich Communication Services (RCS) on the Android operating software to replace the traditional Short Messaging Service (SMS) by introducing more chat features.

These new chat features are coming as a free upgrade to Google's "Messages" app, which usually comes pre-installed on most Android devices.

Users of Google's app will eventually see a notification to "Do more with Messages", and then they'll be able to "enable chat features" which is RCS. It allows you to get read receipts, see if others are typing, share high-res imagery and video, and participate in better group sessions.

It's technically possible for us to migrate to partner RCS services and we are committed to working with our partners to ensure that users have a great experience, and are happy to interop with their service, including migrating to their service.

It seems only to work with one SIM card at a time so if you have a dual SIM phone, you'll have to choose which phone number to verify for RCS. But you'll need to join the beta channel so that you can get the version that works now. Unlike other texting services like Telegram or Apple's iMessage, RCS does not support end-to-end encryption. That's a good month and a half before you could get RCS on your smartphone. This week, Google is rolling out the chat features to a wider audience in the United States.

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Unfortunately, carriers have been slow to implement the technology, looking to differentiate themselves from the Google-led standard with their own take on the technology.

It works with the beta Messages app in my experience so that is key.

Install the Messages app for Android. The four carriers will now begin to implement RCS together and hope to launch a new app by sometime next year. Oh, there's also a website that requires you to log in with your phone, instead of just logging in with your Google account.

The earlier Google RCS launch in the United Kingdom and France might have been a warning shot, but it seems with the carriers declaring they're doing RCS on their own, Google is less anxious about stepping on toes with its version of RCS.

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