More than forty carriers and phone manufacturers are working together to bring RCS messaging, the radical new version of text messaging, to people around the world, according to a blog post from Google.
RCS — Rich Communication Services — is a replacement for SMS text messaging, and it promises to offer features that the humble SMS text messaging service never could, including read receipts, group chats, and high-res imagery. Essentially, RCS aims to take your SMS messages and upgrade them to the level of the interactive and useful chat systems you’d find on apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat. SMS messaging has long been seen as out-of-date, having been introduced in the early nineties. Without a major update since that time, users have been stuck with such antiquated restrictions as MMS messaging, 160 character limits, and so on. RCS messaging would change that.
Google has been working on this for some time — default Android messaging app Android Messages had RCS support enabled last year, Google’s Jibe service was launched around the same time, and aims to bring RCS services to businesses, and last year the service announced that it was working with 27 carriers and manufacturers to introduce the next generation of text messaging. With yesterday’s blog post now highlighting 43 different carriers and manufacturers working with Google, it’s clear that there has been progress on this front.
Google’s big push for RCS at the moment seems to be business-oriented. The traditional example for RCS messaging was an airline boarding pass being sent via text message and being instantly scanned at the gate. Google seems keen to push that particular angle and is highlighting the ways that businesses can use RCS’s features to bring their products to customers, and even let them buy and process orders through a messaging app.
Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 is due to start in but a matter of days, so it’s clear why Google has chosen to make this announcement now. The blog post states that members of the RCS community will be showcasing RCS messaging for businesses at stands at MWC, and with Google’s annual I/O conference also around the calendar’s corner, it’s a safe bet to assume that we haven’t seen the last of Google’s push toward an RCS-future.