RCS Messaging is Now Available Globally in Google Messages

Posted on November 19, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Google, Mobile with 14 Comments

Google announced today that it has successfully rolled out Rich Communication Services (RCS) support to its Messages app globally. Messages is the default Android messaging app.

“We’ve completed our global rollout of chat features to make this modern messaging experience universal and interconnected for everyone on Android,” Google’s Drew Rowny announced. “Now anyone using Messages around the world1 has access to modern chat features either from their carrier or directly from Google.”

As Google explains it, RCS upgrades SMS text messaging so that users can send and receive better quality photos and videos, chat over Wi-Fi or data, know when messages are read, share reactions, and enjoy more dynamic and engaging group chats.

And going forward, Google says that it will continue to upgrade its support for RCS to include better security and privacy as well.

“We will be rolling out end-to-end encryption, starting with one-on-one RCS conversations between people using Messages,” Rowny continues. “End-to-end encryption ensures that no one, including Google and third parties, can read the content of your messages as they travel between your phone and the phone of the person you’re messaging.”

This encryption capability will begin rolling out to beta testers this month, Google says, and will continue into 2021. You can learn more about this feature on the Google Help Center.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “RCS Messaging is Now Available Globally in Google Messages”

  1. proftheory

    When they enable E2EE will that mean that it would be safe to use it for 2FA?

  2. mixedfarmer75

    Love this feature, but carriers need to get their act together. Also needs to be the default. I live in a cell tower dead spot. Means this feature would be awesome for me if anyone knew about it. Weird thing is 3 boys on the same network, 2 can use rcs, the third can't even though the are the exact same phones. Also if you want to use Sasmsung Messages instead of Andriod Messegaes, no go. What a mess.

  3. crunchyfrog

    I can't believe how long this has taken to get here. I have to believe that there must still be some issues lingering.

  4. phil_adcock

    I wish Apple would get behind RCS. I love being able to use Imessage with my iPhone friends, but being that I live in a county where dead spots are still very much a thing. We have two cities and one incorporated town in the county and several smaller communities, Where I live in I have 2-3 bars of T-Mobile at my home, but my mother who lives on the same stretch of land about 300 yards away has issues with service in her home. I can rely on Imessage and text message fail over to work on my phone but for her she can't. I primarily use Imessage with the iphone friends but my android friends I use facebook messenger. It allows me to see when it's delivered which is a big thing for me. If I'm trying to meet with someone, I need to know if they got my message, if it's not delivered, there is no point in calling them to finalize anything cause they obviously do not have signal.

  5. MikeCerm

    Wake me up when they release Google Messages for iPhone so you can have cross-platform encrypted chats. Since Apple will never let anyone else have iMessage, Google needs to bridge the gap.

    • michael_goff

      In reply to MikeCerm:

      They actually can't do that. Google cannot bring Google Messages to iOS as iOS is right now.

      • MikeCerm

        In reply to Michael_Goff:

        This is not true. Third-party apps can't send SMS messages on iOS, but you could chat with other Google Messages users, just like you can with WhatsApp, etc., but with the added benefit of falling back to SMS (on Android).

        • lilmoe

          In reply to MikeCerm:

          RCS is all about SMS/MMS fallback, which will always be impossible on iOS until Apple allows the default dialer/messaging apps to be replaced by 3rd party apps like on Android.

          But no one really cares about all this. No one uses SMS or iMessage outside the US. Everyone uses WhatsApp or whatever popular messaging app is in their region. These message apps are far superior to SMS, iMessage or the new Google messages anyway, and way more resilient since they're cross-platform. Did I mention that all of them are accessible from the desktop?

  6. longhorn

    It doesn't inspire confidence that Google chose RCS that relies on cell towers. Messaging should be simpler (and cheaper - no SIM needed) and use whatever connection available. For example XMPP protocol.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to longhorn:

      Google's implementation actually does bypass the carriers somewhat, which is how it's able to work on older phones that don't support RCS via the built-in messaging app. For phones/carriers that do support RCS, it uses the carrier's implementation. At least, that's how it's worked for the last year or two.

    • codymesh

      In reply to longhorn:

      RCS uses data or wifi, the former uses 'cell towers' the same way anything else connecting to the internet on your phone does

  7. ponsaelius

    Google create iMessage.

  8. VMax

    I don't want read status or typing indicators in SMS - thanks for bringing this to my attention so I can disable it!

  9. wolters

    Adding RCS to YourPhone would be a pretty awesome thing too (in addition to fixing the stability of it)

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