Google plans to replace SMS messages with chat apps

Even today, millions of users around the world rely on SMS text messages. Especially in countries where it is free to use, but Google plans to change the messaging and chat experience dramatically, through the RCS protocol.

American telecommunications companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile have announced the addition of the Google Messages application integrated into the new Android phones, which raised the importance of this protocol, as it is integrated into this application.

This protocol can be defined simply as a newer alternative to the legacy SMS/MMS messaging standards. It provides support for a large number of features and features that transform the experience of exchanging text messages to an experience similar to chat applications such as “WhatsApp” and “Telegram”.

Google has started providing this feature for the first time in mid-2019. The final experience of this technology can be described as similar to the famous messaging application iMessage, which is available in Apple products, the most important of which is the iPhone.

RCS protocol from Google

The Rich Communication Services standard or protocol is defined as an integrated standard for communication and chat, with a user experience very similar to WhatsApp and Telegram, as mentioned previously. But it needs support from service providers – ie, telecom companies – in order to work.

The Google Messages application is the main application to access this feature. Other applications can theoretically support the same protocol. But so far this has not happened.

There is no doubt that this standard offers a lot compared to SMS and MMS standards. It also supports high-quality photo sharing, as well as support for voice and video calls. Messages through RCS are up to 160 characters.

And the user – through the Google Messages application – can add reactions to messages such as Messenger and Twitter. Besides, you can send animated GIFs or even stickers. With geolocation sharing support as well.

RCS can operate on Wi-Fi just like traditional messaging applications. But it needs communication networks as well. Google introduced a major and very important feature back in June, which is end-to-end encryption support via RCS.

When relying on end-to-end encryption, no party will be able to view the content of messages. Including Google itself and the carrier whose services you use. Google and Samsung began adopting the concept of RCS in 2007 with the main goal of providing an iMessage-like experience built into Android phones.

How to use RCS on your phone

In order to use this new standard it must be supported by your carrier. And if you don’t know if it’s supported or not, you can try for yourself.

The first steps are to download the Google Messages application from the Play Store, then go to the settings, then go to the chat features settings, and then activate the chat features through the “Enable Chat Features” option.

Of course, if you do not find that these options are present or not able to activate, this means that your phone or carrier does not support this feature.

It is also mentioned that the RCS feature is available built-in on Samsung phones, through the default Messages app, but you can’t turn it off or turn it on as it works by default. You can access it through the messaging application options.

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