Samsung and Google team up to bring RCS to Galaxy phones

Set up RCS with Samsung Messages Hero
Set up RCS with Samsung Messages Hero (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Samsung has worked with Google to enable RCS in Messages.
  • Users of the Samsung Messages app will no longer need to rely on carrier-based RCS so long as Google supports RCS in their country or region.
  • Samsung's Messages app is the first non-Google made app to work with Google's RCS implementation.

Samsung is enabling RCS support for more Galaxy phones in partnership with Google, the company announced in late April.

"Samsung is bringing support for Google's Rich Communication Services (RCS) to Galaxy smartphones to make your conversations more seamless. The two companies have been working since 2018 to bring the features to Samsung devices," Samsung said, in April, "the Samsung Messages app with RCS allows users to do more, including chat over both Wi-Fi and mobile data, send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, receive read receipts, and create feature-rich group chats. The Messages app is also available on desktop, making it easy to transition seamlessly from mobile to PC."

Here's where it gets a little confusing. Samsung has already supported RCS via its Messages app for years now. As long as your carrier, e.g Vodafone UK, supported RCS, you could communicate with other RCS enabled phones. What appears to be happening here is that Samsung is signing on to Google's Chat service as well. With Google, it doesn't matter if the carrier supports the messaging protocol or not. if Google Messages RCS (branded as Chat) works in that region, then Samsung Messages should have RCS as well.

That said, while Samsung still notes that "Samsung Message app with RCS capabilities vary by market, device and carrier", some users of Samsung's phones reported gaining access to RCS in the Samsung Messages app just two days after Samsung's announcement.

For RCS adoption, this move could prove huge. Yes, RCS has a large theoretic userbase, but users would have to either be using a device that ships with Google's Android Messages app as a default, or they'd have to install it themselves. This cuts out a large OEM like Samsung or even fan favorites like OnePlus. Google has been working with Samsung for a while now, even telling users via an FAQ that they were "working on bringing chat features broadly to more regions, operators and other messaging apps (e.g. Samsung Messages)."

With Samsung phones getting access to Google's RCS by default over the next couple of months, it's going to be visible, and the benefits are going to be tangible.

How to set up RCS Chat on Samsung phones with Samsung Messages

Michael Allison