Back in June Google began rolling out RCS in the UK and France, bypassing carriers. Google is now doing the same in the US.
If you already have Messages, you’ll be prompted to enable chat features in the coming weeks. If you don’t have Messages, you can download it on the Play Store. Google expects this service to be broadly available in the U.S. by the end of year.
RCS was to pave the way to the next generation of messaging with media support, and Google was turning Android Messages into a full RCS client. Basically, RCS was to offer much of the iMessage or WhatsApp natively.
When Android Messages with RCS was announced, Google left it up to the telecom carriers to bring support for the service worldwide. But that never really worked out. Google pitched it as a service that the carriers will provide and not Google.
Google has not made signing up for the service mandatory. It’s an opt-in service. RCS chat option will pop up when the user will open the new Android Messages app and will become the default should the user choose to use it.
Compared to iMessage, Google RCS is not end-to-end encrpyted. Google also doesn’t keep a database of who has RCS and who doesn’t which Apple does in its “Apple Identity Service”. Google instead relies on carriers to maintain a database but presently, Google is simply pinging the other device silently to check if that device supports RCS or not.
However, Google did say they will be storing ‘files’ such as the stickers, GIFs, videos and photos that users have shared for a period of time without user identifiers to ensure the recipients can download the file.
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Updated: November 14, 2019
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