Update, December 6: According to a number of readers, the functionality is rolling out right now. To access Chat features, head to Settings --> Advanced --> Chat features, and make sure the setting is enabled.
Two weeks ago, Verizon announced it will kick off support for RCS — the messaging standard that's set to replace SMS — from early 2019, and the carrier confirmed via a Reddit thread that it will roll out the RCS chat feature on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL from December 6.
The latest Pixels will be the first phones on Verizon to pick up support for RCS, with the carrier mentioning to The Verge that other smartphones will receive the update in the future. It's likely the Pixels will serve as a test for RCS messaging on Verizon, with a broader rollout slated for sometime around early 2019.
Thankfully, Verizon's RCS implementation will be compatible with other carriers as it supports the GSMA's Universal Profile. The service itself will be dubbed Chat on the Pixels to make it easier for customers to make the distinction. With RCS, you'll be able to see read receipts, along with typing indicators, group chats, media sharing, and much more:
- Send larger text messages. Create larger messages up to 8000 characters long. With Android Messages Chat, you're no longer limited to 160 characters.
- Typing indicators. See when your contact is typing a conversation.
- Read receipts. See when your message has been read.
- Large chat groups. Create group chats with up to 100 participants who also have chat features enabled.
- High-quality media sharing. Share pictures and videos in high-quality.
- Chat over WiFi. You can send messages over WiFi, even when you don't have a cellular connection.
- Large transfer files. Send larger attachments than ever before.
With the Pixels set to pick up the feature later this week, hopefully other phones will follow suit in the coming months.
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