Google published a blog post today, regarding its wireless service, Fi. It announced a few changes that were coming to Google Fi in 2019, most of them good. This includes RCS. A bit surprising that Google didn't already launch RCS on Fi, seeing as that is the new messaging protocol that Google has bene pushing over the past few years or so. And Verizon even launched it – albeit on a couple of devices only – before Google did. Google says that RCS is going to be available in the "coming weeks", though there is no set launch for RCS just yet.
With RCS, or Rich Communications Service, is a new version of SMS. It will allow users to do much more, this includes being able to send video and audio clips, as well as send high-resolution images and start group chats. Now you can already send images through texts, though that is more of a MMS thing, but the images are heavily compressed and don't look as great. RCS will change that, allowing you to send high-resolution images, that do look great. RCS is basically going to take your traditional text messages and make it look more like something like WhatsApp, iMessage or another messaging service. It's a protocol that many have been waiting years to actually be adopted, and Google is finally getting many of its carrier partners to jump on-board.
Google says that all smartphones that are designed for Fi, will get the RCS update in the coming months. That includes phones like the Pixel 3, Moto G6, LG V40 ThinQ and many more. If you are using another Android smartphone on Fi, you will need to download the Messages app – the stock messaging app that is available from Google. Then you'll need to set it as your default messaging app, and from there you'll see prompts to enable RCS. Unfortunately, other messaging apps have not added RCS support, so it is still pretty limited. If you want to use the RCS features, you'll need to use Google's Messages app, as long as Google decides to keep it around.
Google is also offering faster data when traveling abroad
Another change that is coming this year is faster data in some countries, while you are traveling abroad. Google Fi already offers 4G LTE speeds in over 200 countries and territories, which are charged the same as at home in the US. So you can get a gigabyte of data for just $10. However, Google is upgrading the speed in about 33 of those countries. It's taking its 4G LTE service, and upgrading it to faster 4G LTE coverage. Google has listed the countries that will be getting this upgrade. Those include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, just to name a few. These are all fairly popular abroad destinations, so it's definitely a good thing for Google Fi members, especially since this is not going to cost more than you are already paying for Google Fi. Upgrades without paying more is always a good thing.
Google Fi has seen plenty of changes in the past few months
Late last year, Google announced that Fi would become available on any Android smartphone and would be coming to the iPhone as well. This was a big deal for Fi, and something that was needed. It also shed the "Project" part of its name, so it is simply "Google Fi" now. Now with Google Fi being available on many more smartphones, it is going to be available to a lot more people. So that more people can experience how Google Fi works, with jumping between different networks and such. Now with Google adding RCS and upgrading the 4G LTE speeds in about 33 countries, it makes Fi a much more attractive option. Especially if you are one that does do a lot of traveling outside of the US. Being able to use your phone in another country without needing to make any changes or pay for roaming is the way things should be right now, and so far only Google is doing that. With T-Mobile, you get free data, but it's the slower, 2G speeds. Meanwhile Google offers up 4G LTE speeds in these countries. Google Fi starts at $30 per month – $20 for texts and calls which are unlimited, and then $10 per month for data. And you only get charged for what you use. There is technically, no "unlimited" plan. But once you get to 6GB, you won't get charged any more, and can continue to get 4G LTE data.