Google has been long trying to push Rich Communication Services, better known as RCS, to all Android devices in the US. However, carriers and OEMs, that already offer their own messaging solutions, haven't been as supportive of the new standard. Google eventually decided to bypass carriers and device makers and baked RCS messaging services right into the Messages app that comes pre-installed on all Android smartphones.
The company has already brought RCS messaging to Android phones via the Google Messages app in the UK and France. Last month, it announced the plans to bring RCS to all Android phones in the US as well. And according to 9to5Google, the service is now rolling out for a number of Android devices through a new update to the Carrier Services app.
The Android equivalent to iMessage, RCS replaces the age-old SMS text messaging in our smartphones. To be fair, smartphones have outgrown this decades-old standard a long time ago. Google is rightly wanting to replace SMS text messaging with the feature-rich RCS messaging service. However, not every concerned party is willing to put the effort into the new technology just yet, prompting Google to take the matter completely in its own hands.
Google begins RCS messaging rollout
The version 32.0.283645144 of the Carrier Services app is now rolling out for several Android smartphones via the Google Play Store in the US. This update enables RCS messaging on those devices via the Google Messages app. You may also require the latest update for Google Messages, though. Once you have installed the updates, you'll be greeted with the message "Messages just got better" the next time you open Google Messages. Agree to the terms and conditions and you're all set for the big upgrade.
RCS basically offers everything a modern messaging app does. You get typing indicators, read receipts, and high-quality photo and video sharing capabilities. The standard SMS messaging app does none of that. With RCS, you'll be able to chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data. So if you don't have a SIM card inserted in your phone, or there's no network coverage, you can still text over Wi-Fi.
Note that your conversation partner also needs to have RCS enabled for you to enjoy all these benefits. As of now, RCS isn't compatible with iOS devices. So if your friend owns an iPhone, you'll only get the features that the standard SMS messaging offers. It'll be interesting to see if Apple agrees to join forces with Google on RCS anytime soon.