Originally, Google had to wait for Android device makers and local carriers to be able to bring their RCS or Rich Communication Services messaging platform to users. So it took them a while to be able to roll this out. Now Google has announced that all Android users (except in certain places like China and Russia) will be able to finally use RCS on their Google Messages app. Plus they will soon roll out end-to-end encryption for beta testers and later on, to all users.
If you’re not yet familiar with RCS, this is Google’s attempt to bring an iMessage-like feature to Android devices. By making the Messages app your default messaging service instead of your device’s default app (unless Messages is already the default of course), you’ll be able to enjoy a richer and upgraded messaging experience. You can send better quality photos and videos, get read receipts, share reactions, have more engaging chats whether over WiFi or data, see chat bubbles, have group chats, etc.
The global rollout of RCS has now been completed after two complicated years for Google. Any Android user will be able to have RCS on their Google Messages app. You can bypass your carrier rollout but you have to make sure that it is your device’s default messaging app. There are exceptions of course like China and Russia where Google is on limited (or sometimes no) access.
Google also announced they will bring end-to-end encryption for RCS. This means your one-on-one chats will be encrypted by default so both Google and your carrier will not have access to the content of your messages. This is available for beta testers and limited to one-on-one conversations only, not for group chats yet. It’s also only available if both you and the person you are messaging are using Messages.
To start using RCS on your Messages app, you need to download and update to the latest version. You also need to turn on the chat features in the settings although you have options to toggle on or off for send read receipts and show typing indicators.