Starting next year, Google Messages will become the default RCS and SMS app on all Android phones sold through Verizon Wireless. Google and Verizon made the announcement this morning, and it comes after we’ve seen the same changes come to both AT&T and T-Mobile.
This is a huge change, as Verizon was the final holdout from the RCS movement. Until now, Verizon relied on its own messaging app, which was pre-installed and set as the default on many Android phones. But the overall experience is just not great, even with RCS capabilities available.
Messages by Google will be preloaded, starting next year, on all Verizon Android devices, enabling consumers to enjoy rich messaging features, such as sending and receiving higher-quality photos and videos, chatting over Wi-Fi or data, knowing when your message is read, enjoying more dynamic and engaging group chats, and securely chatting with other Messages users in available one-on-one conversations with end-to-end encryption.
With RCS, not only are your chats encrypted, but you are also able to enjoy features like seeing typing indicators. There are other fun little things that you can do, not so different from features that you’ll find using something like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
The only disappointing part of today’s announcement is that Verizon won’t be making the move until sometime next year. Verizon is also continuing to show commitment to its own Message+ app, as it announced that the app will “get full access to RCS capabilities by the end of the year, including embedded high-res pictures and videos, real-time conversation notifications, animated GIFs and more.”
Now that Google has partnered with the three big carriers here in the U.S., it will be interesting to see if Apple responds in any kind of way. iMessage remains one of the most popular forms of messaging between iOS users. However, with more cohesion on the way for Android users, Apple is likely to make some type of move.