Google's global mission to replace the outdated SMS standard with rich communication services, or RCS, is already seeing its next partners step up to the plate, with Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Globe jumping on board this time around. Google is also helping Vodafone to expand their coverage with RCS, with 10 global Vodafone markets now boasting compatibility with Google's RCS backend, Jibe, and the Android Messages app, which has replaced Google's Messenger. Customers in effected markets will find that most Android devices will come with Android Messages out of the box, and those that aren't buying a new device can simply grab the app from the Play Store, or one of the many other apps that support RCS these days, and have instant support for the standard. This addition to support means that Google and its carrier partners are now offering RCS messaging to over 1 billion subscribers worldwide. Google is also making Android Messages the default messaging app on more devices, and rolling out an Early Access program to encourage businesses to take advantage of RCS messaging.
Google's work on making RCS messaging ubiquitous does not stop with carriers; they're also partnering up with a good amount of major device manufacturers to have Android Messages become the default messaging app on new devices that they ship. So far, the effort has been fairly successful, with a number of big names like HTC, LG, Motorola, and Sony hopping on board, as well as the likes of Micromax, ZTE, and Kyocera. Naturally, Android Messages will be the default on Pixel and Android One devices going forward.
The business initiative takes the form of a developer advocacy effort. Google is offering any business the chance to learn about RCS messaging, and develop for it on their framework to create rich and intuitive experiences for their customers. One example, pictured below, is checking if a product is in stock at Walgreens. Virgin Trains, meanwhile, can send users their scannable boarding passes with all of the information they need, and give them one-tap access to a station map, or a special app that makes the whole process easier. Using the specially made Nexmo API, the number of brands hopping on the RCS train is increasing, with players like Subway, Zipwhip, and Gamestop already on board.