We’ve bene learning about RCS messages for the better part of a decade already, but the beefed-up messaging protocol is still not supported by most service providers across the globe. Frustrated with the lack of support from service providers, Google has announced that an update to Android Messages will allow the application to circumvent service providers and allow the app to use the RCS protocol when you and your contact both use the Android Messages app. For now, Google is planning to flip the switch on this workaround in France and the UK later this month, but we could see a wider rollout to other countries if things go well in these first two test markets.
If Android Messages user opt-in to Google’s new feature, the app will silently ping contacts you message to see if their device supports RCS. If they do, the messages you send will then be passed through Google’s servers instead of your service providers, enabling, read receipts, high-resolution images, and video sharing, the ability to see when someone is typing a reply and much more. You essentially get a full-featured chat app rather than the simple SMS system we’ve been using for the past few decades.
Those who worry about privacy will be glad to hear that Google will be deleting the messages from its servers once they’ve been delivered to the recipient, but the RCS protocol doesn’t come with end-to-end encryption. If you have something to hide, you’ll still be better off with other encrypted chat platforms.
With Google stepping in with this RCS workaround, service providers may finally take RCS seriously. It would still take months or even years before all major service providers roll out RCS support, but we’re can’t imagine service providers would be willing to let Google just swoop in and steal away text messaging like Apple did with iMessage.
Source: The Verge