Google is about to replace SMS with something better

Ruben Fields
June 18, 2019

Rich communication services (RCS), the replacement for SMS and MMS, has been slow to arrive on Android phones, but that's about to change. In Europe, specifically France and the UK, Android users will soon be able to use RCS Chat services.

At launch, RCS won't support end-to-end encryption, meaning it's still going to be playing catch-up with services like WhatsApp and Signal - but Google has said that it is working on that, reports The Verge.

TEXT MESSAGING is toast. The RCS platform also allows users to engage in a video chat without the necessity of installing a third party app like Duo and supports the sharing of large files.

Compared to iMessage, Google RCS is not end-to-end encrpyted.

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Google will not charge users any fees, but may charge companies that wish to use the RCS chat to communicate with customers, and Google declares that it will not access messages for advertising or other services.

Sanaz Ahari, the product management director overseeing Android Messages, told to The Verge that Google is fully committed to finding a solution for its users, in regards to private messaging and proper encryption. The last related feature we have was Google having Messages for web on Google.com and adding RCS. So you won't need a new app and if you want to stick with SMS, you can. This is different than the way Apple automatically has iOS users opt-in to Messages. While it is only Android users in the United Kingdom and France that will be able to take advantage of the service for now, there are plans to bring it to other parts of the world "throughout the year". We've already received at least one report of the feature rolling out in the United Kingdom, so Google is certainly moving fast. The Google Messages SMS app that this system uses doesn't now ship on the most popular Android phones-Samsung phones. A "Chat" label will appear in the app when you're communicating with someone who's also using RCS; if not the app will fall back on SMS standards. However, once a message is received by the recipient, it is removed from Google's servers.

We fundamentally believe that communication, especially messaging, it highly personal and users have a right to privacy for their communications. "If we keep it, it's just to deliver it when that person comes online".

By doing this, Google is fixing one of RCS' biggest problems, not knowing when will it become available for specific users in certain regions. This means that carriers' approval is not needed. And even when a carrier is RCS-capable, carriers have been certifying RCS on a phone-by-phone basis.

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