What you need to know
- Google has finally completed the process of rolling out RCS to users in the U.S.
- The company is well ahead of its previous promise of broad availability by the end of the year.
- Updates to both Google Messages and the Carrier Services app may be required to enable the new chat experience.
Earlier in the week, we reported on an update to the Carrier Services app that enabled RCS for Verizon users. As it turns out, the feature update applied to all remaining users in the U.S. who didn't have RCS yet, allowing Google to complete its rollout much earlier than its previous estimates. As Google's Communications Suite Lead Sanaz Ahari announced on Twitter:
While Ahari suggests updating Carrier Services may be essential to getting the new chat experience, some of the responses to her tweet show users receiving RCS functionality even without the Carrier Services update. Either way, it's probably best to cover your bases and do as the lady says: get the latest versions of both Google Messenger and Carrier Services.
What about the rest of the world, you ask? Well, someone did ask Ahari the same thing. A cryptic "stay tuned" was all she gave us non-Americans.
If you live in the U.S., though, you'll now have an iMessage-like experience on your Android smartphone, which means you can see when someone's typing a response or if they've received/read your messages. You can also send larger multimedia files than was possible with the old MMS standard, and you can do so using your internet connection, without accruing additional charges. Quite the upgrade over SMS, indeed.