Google, after collaborating with Sprint and Rogers for the US and Canadian market respectively, joined forces with Telenor to introduce Rich Communications Services (RCS) in Europe and Asia including India.
Although Short Message Service aka SMS has been all-pervasive in the mobile communication space for a long time, it hasn't received a massive upgrade over the time. Google’s joint venture with Telenor will, however, allow it (as well as the operators) to provide a “more enhanced messaging experience” to SMS users thereby offering the long overdue upgrade.
For the uninitiated, the RCS is a part of GSMA’s advanced messaging standard. As Google refers, it is an enhanced version of SMS which brings along support for features like “group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts and more.” Yes, it is something similar to what Apple does with iMessage. To deliver the said features, Google integrates its own Messenger app for Android with the regular SMS app on smartphones.
Currently, Telenor offers coverage to over 214 million subscribers across multiple countries in Europe and Asia which include Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, and India.
Google’s collaboration with Telenor means subscribers in the said regions including India will be able to make use of RCS via an app update. For this, of course, the Messenger app has to be installed on the subscriber’s Android handset. In case, you don’t have the Messenger app installed on your phone by default; you can simply download it from the Google Play Store.
Google’s blog post also mentions that “many” smartphones that will be launched going forward will come with Google’s Messenger app as “default SMS and RCS messaging app.”
Although multiple carriers across the world have started working on RCS a long back, it was not until Google acquired Jibe (an RCS specialist) that RCS started picking up some space. That said, it still has a long way to go for the service to go mainstream.
Are you excited about the RCS messaging services? Would you use Google’s Messenger to exchange messages or stick to other services like WhatsApp? What’s your view on RCS? Shoot your thoughts in the comments section below.