Its been a year now that we all have been hearing about RCS, the replacement for SMS texting. But it has been reported that using the next-generation message service is nearly impossible due to its complicated carrier and phone maker politics. But now, Google is taking over: Android users in the UK and France will be able to opt to the new RCS message services provided directly by Google, later this month, instead of waiting for their carrier to support it.
Since Google has decided to roll this offering out to more countries, it seems that RCS will eventually become universally available for all Android users. So, it surely seems to be a minor status check-in on the new service meant to replace SMS.
It is for the first time in years that Google is directly offering a better default texting experience to Android users instead of waiting for their cell phone carriers to do it. Though it is not quite the Google equivalent of an iMessage service for Android users, its close.
RCS’s biggest concern is that messages are still not end-to-end encrypted, while WhatsApp, iMessage, and Signal are secured in that way. Even Facebook has said that it will make all its apps encrypted by default. Therefore, Google’s chat solution is increasingly looking out of touch. But still, there is hope on the front since the product management director, Sanaz Ahari, assures that Google recognizes the need for the private chat within RCS and is working on it. She said, “We fundamentally believe that communication, especially messaging, is highly personal and users have a right to privacy for their communications. And we’re fully committed to finding a solution for our users.”
What it means to the users is simple: if you have an Android phone, the timeline for when RCS will be available has become shorter. Though Google wouldn’t commit to saying that the replacement for SMS service will be available in all regions by the end of the year, the giant tech says that it will release the services to more countries “throughout the year”. However, as Ahari says, the goal is “a great, simple user experience that just works for every Android user”.