Google's RCS-powered Chat comes to Italy and Singapore

Android Messages with a dark theme
Android Messages with a dark theme (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • RCS is a set of standards that makes SMS a contender in an age of instant messaging.
  • Google rolled out its implementation of the standard in 2019 to the U.S., UK, Mexico, and France.
  • Now reports indicate it's testing it out in Italy and Singapore as well.

Google's RCS service is reaching more people after an initial rollout last year. Reports of the RCS set-up screen popping up have emerged from Italy and Singapore. Italian siteTuttoAndroid (via Android Police) noted that some Italian users have gotten Google's Chat prompt upon launching the Messages app. At the same time, some Singaporean Messages users have shared screenshots of the same prompt on social media. Google itself has yet to share anything indicating a roll-out, but the growing presence of the prompt means one can't be too far behind.

Google last year rolled out RCS to the U.S., the UK, Mexico, and France, it had promised to enable it in other countries soon.

By way of recap, RCS is an upgrade to the standard SMS messaging feature set that exists on all smartphones. It adds typing indicators, read receipts, support for higher quality file sharing, and so on. In essence, it turns basic SMS into instant messaging, the kind we're used to on WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram Direct, etc. It's typically carrier dependent, but Google has opted to take on that burden for now while carriers get their act together.

While it's no iMessage in terms of popularity, it's a decent upgrade over SMS that hauls the old standard kicking and screaming into 2020.

How to enable RCS Chat features on any Android device

Michael Allison