Apple has spoiled its iPhone users with iMessage for years, but locking them inside the ecosystem means Android users can’t use the platform. Google has tried various methods to make SMS relevant but its efforts have mostly been unsuccessful.
But with Rich Communication Services or RCS, the company found the best way to give users the mix of an SMS service that also supports multimedia features like emoji and more. Google brought RCS technology and integrated it with its Messages app for Android smartphone users. So, what is RCS messaging, how does it work and can you use it on all smartphones? Here’s everything you need to know about this dynamic messaging service.
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What is RCS Messaging
RCS was introduced much earlier in 2007 and was touted as the successor to the age old SMS service. This feature works in collaboration with the telecom operators who run the network for RCS messaging through data. But with the acquisition by the GSM Association (GSMA), RCS was chosen as the standard used by all telecommunications, phone brands and even software companies.
Everyone expected RCS to become the popular choice in the industry, but a lack of interest and effort from partners derailed its progress, which meant that the likes of WhatsApp and iMessage had the upper hand over RCS for Android users.
What Can RCS Messaging Offer?
RCS Messaging is the Android version of iMessage and its features are similar to what you have on apps like WhatsApp. It supports multimedia messages, rich text content, lets you share files, videos and even images. All these were never possible over SMS and hence RCS was considered a logical and modern successor to the smartphone.
You can also get other items, such as digital boarding passes, which can be used at airport terminals. It would also have been a one-stop shop to buy items without having to download other shopping apps. Alas, none of this has come up until now.
Does RCS have any future?
RCS struggled to make an impact in the market until Google entered the scene a few years ago and took over to make it relevant. Google opened its Messages app to support RCS and offered its own network to run the service.
At the Google I/O 2022 keynote, the company claimed that it has over 500 million users on the RCS network. The service is also available in markets such as the US, UK, France, other parts of Europe and countries like India. RCS is operating in most parts of the world, except Russia and China, and it’s safe to say that Google has ensured that RCS has a future, though still in its infancy.
How to Enable RCS Messaging on Your Phone
Android phone users can go to the Messages app’s settings and see if Chat Features option is available. You can enable or disable the service manually depending on your requirement. Remember you need an active data pack to send/receive messages through RCS.
If not enabled, your messages will not be sent via SMS route either. You should also make sure that the receiver has support for RCS messages, otherwise they will receive the message in SMS format.
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RCS messages are claimed to be secure with the help of client protocol encryption standards. In fact, RCS messages are said to be spam-free, but recently, Google was forced to disable this feature in India, where people were getting spam messages through RCS.
Even after being on the market for so many years, RCS as a product is still new, and we are hoping that Google will make the right effort to make it a mainstream product in the near future.
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