Google is bringing RCS messaging to users directly instead of waiting for carriers
There has been much talk about SMS successor RCS (Rich Communication Service) over the last year or so, but there has been little in the way of action. But this is about to change.
Seemingly tired of carriers and handset makers dawdling, Google is bringing RCS messaging to Android users in the UK and France. With Google taking control of RCS, the service could become the company's version of iMessage before long, and it means users will be able to experience it sooner than they might have expected.
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The RCS push is due to start later this month. While it is only Android users in the UK and France that will be able to take advantage of the service for now, there are plans to bring it to other parts of the world "throughout the year".
As reported by the Verge, RCS is not going to be forced on users, but will instead be available on an opt-in basis. Within the Android Messages app, users will be given the opportunity to switch to RCS Chat, and on new handsets, users will be asked during the initial setup process to choose which they would prefer to use.
Google taking control of the RCS situation is great news for anyone eager to try out the new protocol, but there is a drawback. Google's implementation of RCS does not feature end-to-end encryption, although this is something that could be added further down the line. Critics will question whether it is right for Google to be taking charge of a protocol that was supposed to be decentralized, but this is something that is likely to be lost in the excitement of using RCS.