TEXT MESSAGING is toast. After years of being available, Google has decided its sick to death of waiting for carriers to roll out Rich Communication Services (RCS) Chat and is taking matters into its own hands.
If you're in France or here in Blighty and using an Android handset will soon be able to opt-in to RCS provided directly by Google.
RCS has been an agreed standard since 2016, but up to now, only Samsung has fully adopted the souped-up texting protocol. Google has been supporting it from the beginning too, but it has proved slow to catch on, particularly as it previously involved your airtime provider to support it.
It's a big deal for Android users who have long been second-class citizens compared to their fruit-based brethren, as this will mean that the Messaging app for Android is a lot more like Apple iMessage.
At launch, RCS won't support end-to-end encryption, meaning it's still going to be playing catch-up with services like WhatsApp and Signal - but Google has said that it is working on that, reports The Verge.
"We fundamentally believe that communication, especially messaging, is highly personal and users have a right to privacy for their communications," a spokesperson said. "And we're fully committed to finding a solution for our users."
Which was nice.
Google has also said that messages will be deleted from their systems as soon as they are delivered, so if they can get the encryption side sorted, this will be a pretty compelling way to communicate. The messages are encrypted during sending.
If a carrier has already switched on RCS, you'll be using that, but if not, the rollout of direct RCS from Google will start later this month - you just need to wait for the prompt to upgrade in the Messaging app. Once that's done, you'll be good to go with RCS, and SMS will kick in where RCS isn't available.
At the moment, Google has only announced the UK and France for the launch but says other countries will be rolled out over the course of 2019 and 2020. μ
Watch this space
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