RCS Messaging rolls out to Android users in US

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Google officially flips the switch on an update that makes texting on Android more like texting on an iPhone.

Android users in the United States finally have access to a new messaging protocol that promises many of the benefits Apple users already get from iMessage.

Android users now have access to messaging over Wi-Fi connections and modern texting features like read receipts and typing indicators, which are the little bubbles that let you know someone is replying.

The update comes via Google’s support of Rich Communication Services (RCS), an online protocol that’s meant to replace traditional SMS messaging.

RCS enables users to send and receive high-resolution images, GIFs and videos. It also enables people to make video calls. Through Google’s latest update, Android users can now name group chats and add or remove people from existing group chats.

In November, Google said it was worked on upgrading its traditional SMS text messaging to add more useful chat features. The new messaging capabilities are baked into Google’s Messages app, much like iMessaging features for iOS users.


“Texting changed the way we communicate, but it’s out of date,” Google said in a blog post. “Today we want messaging that lets us do things like share high-res photos and larger files, chat with a group, know when messages are read, or make video calls.” 

The tools only work when communicating with someone else who has RCS enabled on their smartphone. Apple doesn’t support RCS, so if you text an iPhone user, your messages will still appear green rather than blue.

If you already have Messages, you should’ve been prompted to enable chat features. If you haven’t gotten the notification, you’ll want to be sure that Android Messages and Carrier Services are up to date.

If you don’t have Messages, you can download it from the Play Store. Users in the U.K. and France have had access to the feature for months and more countries will be added soon.

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Version: Varies with device
Updated: December 9, 2019
Category: Communication
Price: Free
Requirements: Varies with device
Developer: Google
Contains Ads: No
In-app Purchases: No


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