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This article is brought to you by Artstechnica.com
Article author: Ron Amadeo
Article source: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1602127

Enlarge / Promotional image of two smartphones. (credit: Google)

Will RCS ever matter? The standard has been hanging around for years as an upgrade to the aging carrier SMS texting standard, but since the carriers are in charge of it, the Rich Communication Service (RCS) has been going nowhere fast. Google is apparently tired of waiting for the carriers, and after launching its own RCS service in the UK and France earlier this year, the industry giant is now bringing its own RCS implementation to the United States, carriers be damned.

Google is rolling out RCS through the Google Messages app, Google’s ninth messaging app after Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Buzz, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Spaces, Allo, and Hangouts Chat. Users of Google’s app will eventually see a notification to “Do more with Messages,” and then they’ll be able to “enable chat features” which is RCS. Google says it will start enabling this for US users “in the coming weeks” and the service will be “broadly available in the US by the end of year.”

RCS is pretty lame as a messaging standard in 2019, but remember this is a replacement for SMS—the spec has been driven by the carriers that are members of the GSMA. So you’ve got to lower your expectations. RCS upgrades carrier messaging with functionality like typing indicators, presence information, location sharing, group messages, longer messages, and better media support. These are all things you would expect from any over-the-top instant messaging app in the modern era, but as a carrier-integrated replacement for SMS, these basics are still not there yet.

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