Texting has rapidly become more popular than speaking with someone over the phone. The problem is that there are so many messaging apps. Google uses Allo, Hangouts and basic SMS texting. Apple offers iMessage and there are apps that do not come pre-loaded on a phone such as Facebook Messenger and What’s App. The only problem with many of these is in order to communicate your contact has to be using the same app.
Google has entered into a partnership with Telenor to offer RCS (Rich Communications Services) in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Pakistan, India, Thailand and Malaysia. The new messaging service will be included in an update to Android Messenger. The United States will soon be joining European texting with RCS fromGoogle.
RCS offers higher resolution for images sent over text, better and more stickers and emojis. There is no 160 character limit as with messenger and the video chat has been vastly improved. Texts can be sent over Wi-Fi or data rather than through specific carriers. Unfortunately, it will cost money – not much but depending on how many texts you generate it may be a deciding factor. According to The Verge, “Chat features are powered by Google. By continuing, you accept the %1$s.” The Verge reports that Google has already re-named Messenger to Google Messages and is offering it on the Play store. The phone models that have agreed to install Google Messages include LG, ZTE, Sony, Nokia, HTC, Kyocera and Motorola, just to name a few. Apple and Samsung have not yet joined.
Phone carriers in on the deal are Sprint and Canadian wireless carrier, Rogers along with a few European carriers. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are not yet on board. At this time sending an RCS message to a carrier or phone not supporting RCS will simply revert back to SMS style. Google is hoping that once the advantages of RCS messaging are experienced, all phone manufacturers and carriers will want to join up.
It is possible that texts will be able to be sent from desktop and laptop computers depending on which browsers are supported. Before the days of smartphones, Verizon offered the ability to send a text to a Verizon user on the Verizon website from a computer, but that was short lived.
Many users find the change useful while others believe it is just one more of the over five messaging apps provided for Android which is just causing consumer headaches. The only answer to the problem is time and how the world will adapt to the new messaging service.