Google has announced that the Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging standard is now available globally to Android users through Messages by Google.
Previously, it was only available in a few countries, including France, Mexico, and the US.
RCS messaging is an upgrade of the SMS text messaging technology that has been used on cellphones for decades and offers a number of modern features including:
- Send and receive better quality photos and videos
- Chat over Wi-Fi or by using data
- Read message indicators
- Reactions to individual messages
- Dynamic group chats
Essentially, RCS seeks to integrate features that have become standard in popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.
“For the past few years, we’ve worked with the mobile industry and device makers on several carrier networks in certain countries to provide chat features in Messages based on the open Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard,” said Google.
“Today, we’ve completed our global rollout of chat features to make this modern messaging experience universal and interconnected for everyone on Android.”
“Now anyone using Messages around the world has access to modern chat features either from their carrier or directly from Google,” said Google.
Google also announced that it is rolling out end-to-end encryption on the Messages from Google RCS platform.
“We recognize that your conversations are private and it’s our responsibility to keep your personal information safe,” said Google.
“We’re continually improving security protections to safeguard your privacy and will be rolling out end-to-end encryption, starting with one-on-one RCS conversations between people using Messages.”
Google said the feature will first roll out to beta testers this month, and this will continue into next year.
End-to-end encryption is only available when both people involved in the chat have Messages installed and chat features on.
“We’re excited to share these updates and continue to improve the Messages experience around the world,” said Google.