RCS Chat is now live in only two nations within Google Messages— the UK. And France. And France. We understand everything about the rich communication services and how they can deliver something similar to iMessage, but for smartphone owners of Android.
Some of us living outside the U.S. don’t really know why so many are still sending SMS on their mobile phones in North America. Most of us have moved to another service or messaging platform that provides comparable characteristics over even iMessage and improved functions.
Google obviously recognizes the “green bubble brigade” frustrations, and RCS and Chat are just two of the ways Android phone messaging gets a much-needed overhaul. The issue Apple knew about when rolling out iMessage is that there was never going to be any work waiting for carriers to introduce RCS. Google is taking control, and it’s about a damn moment, because we could have been waiting much longer without forcing these “Chat” characteristics.
RCS: The basics — what you can and can not do
Let’s begin with the fundamentals. The only “full” RCS-enabled messaging applications that you can use to send any improved SMS-style emails are Google Messages and Samsung Messages. You can send GIFs, pictures, videos… heck, if you wish, you can even submit documents such as APKs and PDFs.
If you’re hoping that Android users will receive a flat copy or replica of iMessage, you’ll be a little disappointed. Apple has a much more mature messaging platform with integrations of apps and extras accessible only on the platforms of iOS and Mac.
That implies that it is not possible to share any AR characteristics or AR-style emoji. You can do stuff like sending your GPS location, GIFs, photos, stickers, text, speech notes, and files that are quite fundamental instant messaging. That’s it. RCS can’t mimic any of the sophisticated characteristics that have just been discovered on iMessage — with a focus on it yet.
The upper limit of video files is 105 MB. We’re not sure why that’s the restriction, but you may want to share a Google Drive or Photos link if you want to upload big and long video files to your colleagues and families.
One nice alternative is that you can jump directly from Messages to a Google Duo call. However, instead of maintaining you in the messaging perspective, it takes you out of the app and into Duo, and that would definitely be useful for group chats and video calls.
RCS: In practice — how do you use it?
There is no doubt that the greatest obstacle to Google’s vision for RCS and Chat is the adoption rate. Google Messages is a excellent SMS client, but for every single Android device on the market it’s not currently the stock option.
The switch will be seamless for those who use devices that have Google Messages pre-installed and set as default. Anyone who has installed Messages on their own will also have a smooth RCS and Chat transition. It will still prove difficult to convince the less tech-savvy or anyone else to move to a fresh messaging app, even if it offers a better experience.
It feels like it’s done before, firing up Google Messages. Nothing has altered too much. Except that the send button now features “SMS” above the little paper airplane icon, you can send emails as usual. This enables you to decipher if the message is sent in the old-fashioned manner or via RCS.
Alternatively, you can click a message sent or received for a long time, then press the dropdown of the scheme to verify the information of the message. This will provide you with a brief dialog box that will provide you with all the key data.
There’s a SMS fallback. You’re going to have to enable the function and it provides you some choices. Fortunately, there are some alternatives to choose from including requesting before sending, automatically resending, or simply completely disabling.
It’s as simple as sending a sticker, GIF, video, or file. You pick the”+” icon and the correct options range is provided where your keyboard is generally found. Then you can add all file and media types. It’s simple to record a speech note, but the quality is not fantastic. You are better off externally recording and sending as an attachment.
I sent relatively easily APK files, PDFs, and more. The method is about as quickly as with comparable messaging applications such as WhatsApp and iMessage. However, initially, the app did not notify you of any material that has not been sent, which has since been corrected.
One thing Google has tackled cleverly is the capacity to choose how to send your emails and MMS on a contact-by-contact basis. You can indicate when you only want to submit SMS and MMS to that specific contact within a chat. This may be preferable if you don’t have any information allowance at all, or if you head to an region where Wi-Fi and information connections are at best spotty.
Overall, it is reminiscent of iMessage’s initial rollout. It operates without excessive input. Activate Chat characteristics in Google Messages environments is all you need to do.
Looking forward — What’s in the future?
The greatest compliment I can pay is that I still use the Google Messages app to use the freshly added messaging protocol to contact my friends (and peers).
There are some problems that need to be overcome, such as the rollout obviously needs to be worked out to capture as much precious information and feedback from the “true globe.” Currently, making a solid communication scheme that can manage basics such as video, pictures, GIFs, and, of course, text across different networks is the top priority.
There is still no client-to-server encryption for the privacy-conscious, meaning that RCS Chat will not give anything like the end-to-end encryption discovered on WhatsApp, iMessage, or Telegram. While you will have additional message features than SMS, third parties may need to intercept more delicate information.
For tons of Android-powered devices, allowing OEMs and carriers to adopt the protocol within their own apps will open much greater communication options. As many OEMs are now shipping their latest models with Google Messages as the pre-installed messaging option, RCS and Chat can potentially overcome the install rate problem. This prevents owners from having to install another messaging app.
Recall Allo? The ill-fated effort at a messaging app in the VOIP style actually had a ton of excellent characteristics and is the catalyst for this rollout. With RCS within Google Messages, we could see some characteristics of Allo rolling out and changing how we use “traditional” text messaging. Further deep integration with Google and third party services is also possible.
Would you like to book a taxi in a group and share the fare with Uber immediately? It could be added. So, at least in theory, the capacity to divide a check in a bar or restaurant. Google can rapidly gain ground with probably better (and more helpful) characteristics where Apple presently has the upper hand with inclusion.
Verdict — A strong beginning
Because of the short time we had to get to grips with this real long-term substitute of SMS, messaging using RCS and Chat is an pleasant, smooth experience. As a predominantly WhatsApp user and someone who in about six months has sent about 10 SMS messages, I’m amazed by how much more I enjoy the Messages experience than other options.
It has a sense of cohesion that a third-party app can not really mimic. With more OEMs now adopting Google Messages as the default SMS app, hopefully there is life in RCS that Google couldn’t breathe into the now-defunct Allo.
Google Assistant integration and further growth of apps could be an even bigger catalyst for adoption— at least by those who recognize a digital assistant’s advantages.
However, as it stands, at this stage in time, RCS and chat within Google Messages may not be the iMessage option. That said, the future looks bright for the real replacement of SMS at this early point.