For years, Google and service providers have been talking about RCS messaging as the replacement for SMS, but we really haven’t seen very much progress in replacing the antiquated messaging platform. As of today, that all changes with an update to Google’s Messages app on Android which now bypasses the servers used by service providers and delivers RCS messages directly to its recipient.
Google started testing this same functionality in Europe earlier this year and is now rolling it out to Android users in the US as well. While many are reporting that the RCS service on their phones is already active, Google says that RCS communications between all users of its Messages app will be “broadly available” by the end of 2019.
With RCS finally enabled, users will have a much richer messaging experience which includes read receipts to know when someone has seen your message, typing indications, the ability to send and receive large images and videos, advanced group messaging features which allow you to name group chats and easily add or remove people from the conversation.
Since Google is enabling the new RCS protocol in its own Messages app, you won’t be able to use any of these features if you rely on your service providers’ SMS app or mang of the default messaging apps that come pre-installed on Android smartphones. Google has convinced several manufacturers to switch to its Messages app on their phones, but there’s still a long way to go before its the default option for most.