Here’s a nice little surprise for Android users this weekend. It seems that Google’s pans to roll out Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging is slightly ahead of schedule. The company announced in November that it would be making the feature available for all Android users in the country by year-end.
A tweet from Android Messages product manager Sanaz Ahari confirms that the SMS-successor has been made available to users in the States as of this week. The new protocol brings with it some key advances over messaging stalwart, SMS.
Hi everyone! RCS is now available to all users in US as of Monday. Make sure to update both Messages and Carrier Services.
— Sanaz (@sanazahari) December 12, 2019
The update brings a lot of features that many have been compared to iMessage, Apple’s standard protocol that’s done a good keeping many users onboard with iOS, for fear of becoming a green bubble. Key features include read receipts, the ability to see another user typing in real-time, larger file transfers and improved group messaging (though, as noted, some features like end to end encryption are still lacking).
Notably back in October, the U.S.’s four primary carriers formed a rare joint effort to accelerate the adoption of RCS. Both the Messages app and carrier services have to be updated to get access. Users in the U.K. and France also have access to the feature as of this summer, with more countries coming soon.