Google announces global availability of RCS in Messages

RCS messaging
RCS messaging (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has been rolling out RCS in Messages since last year.
  • Today, the company announced this rollout was now completed and all users with the Google Messages app
  • Google is also rolling out end-to-end encryption.

Google introduced Chat —powered by RCS — to Messages back in 2018 as its replacement for Allo. Today, the company says that it has now rolled out chat to all countries globally. The service offered a souped-up version of SMS, including support for high-quality attachments, reactions, gif, stickers, etc. It basically turned the Messages app into a counterpart to services like iMessage and WhatsApp. Its only limitation was its initial availability. For a messaging app, being able to chat with just a few people really degrades the appeal, and now that's been tackled.

Google's Drew Rowny, Product Lead, Messages, said:

Today, we've completed our global rollout of chat features to make this modern messaging experience universal and interconnected for everyone on Android. Now anyone using Messages around the world1 has access to modern chat features either from their carrier or directly from Google.

Google is also bringing end-to-end encryption to RCS in Google Messages. It's coming first to one-to-one conversations, and it'll obviously only apply if you're both using Chat. Google will bring it to beta testers by the end of this month, and it should start rolling out globally over the next year.

Google hasn't shared how many Messages users are actively using RCS, but when you consider the app now being installed on popular phones ranging from Xiaomi to OnePlus, all the way down to the ease of set-up, it does stand a better chance at resonatiing with people than the now defunct Allo.

Google Messages App Icon

Google Messages

Google's Messages app comes pre-installed on many Android phones, but some manufacturers like Samsung choose to ship their own bespoke messaging app. You'll need to download this app to use Google's Chat service.

Michael Allison