RCS messaging: Google's biggest move yet in Android texting officially launched in the US

CNET | 11/14/2019 | Staff
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Google is launching a big update to its Android Messages app.

The much-anticipated update is made possible by the rollout of a technology called RCS, or Rich Communication Services. RCS is meant to replace SMS, or Short Message Service, a stalwart but tired protocol that's more than 25 years old.

Update - Features

The update will give you features including:

Sending and receiving high-resolution photos and videos

Interview - Sanaz - Ahari - Director - Product

In an interview, Sanaz Ahari, director of product management for Google's communications services, acknowledged the update was long overdue, saying the SMS protocol currently used in the Android system lacks "lacks the features users expect from modern messaging."

"These are table stakes features," Ahari said. "It's a very important step in the right direction."

People - RCS - Android - Messages - App

People can turn on RCS by opening up the Android Messages app and, when prompted, enabling the chat features. If another Android phone also has RCS enabled, text messages will automatically use the new protocol. Google is doing a slow rollout and only about 1% of Android phones will get the update Thursday. Most people in the US will get the new features "by the end of the year."

These are table stakes features. It's a very important step in the right direction.

Feature - Encryption - Messages - Sender - Receiver

One feature that's notably missing is end-to-end encryption, which secures messages so only the sender and receiver can read them. It has become a privacy standard in messaging apps, including Apple's iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Ahari said the company continues to study the issue.

"It's a fairly complicated topic," Ahari said when asked why end-to-end encryption isn't included. She said there are "technical complexities," as well as legal and policy implications. Google also has to think about its ecosystem of partners, which includes wireless carriers, phone makers and third parties. She said Google doesn't read messages or use them for personalized ad-targeting.

RCS

With RCS,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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