Google’s SMS Replacement App, RCS May Roll Out Soon
Google has finally taken a stance on its upcoming RCS chat (Rich Communication Service) functionality for Android devices. The feature was announced back in 2018, although its implementation has been rather slow. The blame is partly on various carriers as the next-gen texting format usually depends on networks adding support. This usually occurs one at a time inducing great delay. Hence, compatibility so far has been grey in nature. The tech giant, however, has now announced that it will take the lead on the projects roll out.
RCS is said to be a new-gen replacement for SMS texting and will be initially made available for users in the UK and France in June. Users can opt-in for the service in the aforementioned countries. This service does not work on a central server and is designed to work with other devices that are compatible. Google passes the exchanged messages through its servers (which they claim are deleted as soon as they’re delivered) taking on a decentralized system. Hence, not requiring carrier support or complicated OEM policies.
How Does RCS Work?
RCS is essentially a peer-to-peer workaround for the carrier-driven model. The next-gen texting service is agreed on by most carrier across the globe to be a viable and necessary replacement for SMS. Similar to modern texting apps, it will provide many of the new features currently popular in base messaging apps. Compatible devices thereon receive high-quality media, read receipts and other new features with the service. Unfortunately, end-to-end encryption is still lacking right now.
Google’s Android Messenger dubs the app as ‘Chat’ and will be optional for those that want to update to the RCS Chat. Furthermore, new smartphones will, by default, be offered on devices running Android OS. To enable the feature, click ‘Yes’ on the Chat prompt on the default messaging app. If another user in the same virtual room has RCS, it will be shown as Chat in the app. The service will work with any smartphone supported by the RCS Universal Profile, regardless of carrier support or even Google.
RCS is a federated model with different carriers being responsible for delivering messages to users. This is unlike Apple’s iMessage that utilizes a central server based model. The complex nature of RCS is crucial for not having a single company benefitting and controlling the entire system, similar in nature to SMS.
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Google has not passed every hurdle to be faced with RCS’s widespread induction. The tech giant has not announced a proper roadmap for the new chat technology being implemented in other countries. However, with Google’s hands-on involvement with the service, users can be assured of an earlier release than carriers.