Google is foraying its existing messaging app to Rich Communication Services (RCS) app, which would change the default SMS app “Messenger” to “Android Messages”.
RCS is basically a communication protocol set between mobile telcos and smartphone companies. It aims to replace the SMS with text-message system that is rich (emoticons and interactive- video or gifs), provides phonebook polling and transmits in-call multimedia. Some examples are Jio4GVoice and Message+
In short, Google is aiming to revamp your usual Android text messages to somewhat similar to WhatsApp.
In a recent interview with The Verge, Amir Sarhangi (Head of RCS at Google) said that the app is getting renamed because Android Messages is becoming similar to Android itself. It is already known that Google is accumulating carriers in support to make RCS more functional than ever before.
Users will be able to download the Android Messages app directly from the Play Store which in turn gives the added benefit that the app can be updated directly.
What progress has Google made in RCS?
Google is currently thinking to emulsify its other apps into the RCS messaging app, while Android manufacturers have already agreed to use Android Messenger instead of a custom app by the manufacturers. As per the report, the list includes LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, Nokia, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, Lanix, LeEco, Lava, Kyocera, MyPhone, QMobile, Symphony and Wiko, along with Pixel and Android One devices; Samsung and Apple are missing from the list though.
The company has announced that a bunch of wireless carriers have agreed to adopt the “Universal Profile” for RCS, which means that rich text messages will work fine with some international carriers that are on board – Sprint, Rogers, Telenor, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Globe and Vodafone. As per the company, adding up the carriers on list brings a billion people under the RCS umbrella.
For now, the search engine giant is hoping that other companies might fall under the RCS category after generating a collective interest by creating the “Android Messages”.
What if I send RCS message to a phone or carrier that isn’t’ part of the RCS standard?
Firstly, in India only Reliance and Bharti Airtel have started the RCS as one of the standard modes of communication, and it’s still in its nascent stage. But in general, if you send an RCS message to a phone or carrier that isn’t registered under the RCS standard then it will appear as a standard SMS or MMS.
I don’t want to quit SMS or MMS
So for now even if the services roll out, Indian carriers will take time to make this fully functional. For now, Jio4G Voice is struggling with ratings and services. So it’s really hard to say whether the revamp of the usual messages app will overtake the existing SMS and MMS.
And even if it replaces the existing messaging, Android messages will still fall back to SMS, as the whole point is to revamp and not withdraw services.
Google is also working on creating its “Early Access Program” for businesses to send messages via RCS, meaning that you can receive boarding passes and data plan overages. Also, the messages received will be more ‘live’ than ‘dull’ bot generated. Think of receiving verified messages from the sender, rather than messages sent from anonymous number like DZ-1782.
Seems like smart SMS will now be a thing. Let’s just wait for the service to roll, for it to be more apparent whether it will work or not.
You can download Android Messages App from here.