Android users around the world are joining the blue bubble club. That means that RCS (Rich Communication Services) is being disseminated globally allowing those using an Android powered handset to join those in the U.S. who received the update last year. RCS replaces the older Android Messages app and uses a Wi-Fi or data connection instead of voice. This means that messages containing photos or video will look much better and much larger messages can be sent and received.
Google seeks to match Apple’s iMessages features, especial end-to-end encryption
Some other features that are part of RCS include Read Receipts that alert you when a message you sent has been read, and you’ll also know when the person you’re chatting with is typing a response to a message you’ve just posted. RCS does not work with iOS or even with Android phones that are using a carrier branded or third-party messaging apps. You can tell whether the person at the other end of your conversation is using the new messaging platform by the color of the text bubble on the screen. If both parties are using RCS, that bubble will be blue, similar to how iPhone users know whether the person they are texting is using an iOS or Android device.
In a blog post published late last week Google said, “As smartphones get more advanced, our communication apps should also progress to meet our changing needs. For the past few years, we’ve worked with the mobile industry and device makers on several carrier networks in certain countries to provide chat features in Messages based on the open Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard. Chat features upgrade SMS text messaging so you can send and receive better quality photos and videos, chat over Wi-Fi or data, know when your message is read, share reactions, and enjoy more dynamic and engaging group chats. Today, we’ve completed our global rollout of chat features to make this modern messaging experience universal and interconnected for everyone on Android. Now anyone using Messages around the world1 has access to modern chat features either from their carrier or directly from Google.”
One of these features is end to end encryption. With the latter, no one, not even Google or any third party, will be able to read the content you are sending through RCS from your phone to the phone of the person you are messaging. At first, end-to-end encryption will be pushed out to beta testers starting this month and continuing into next year. Eligible conversations will automatically upgrade to end-to-end encryption, but only if the person at the other end of the message has Messages installed and chat features enabled.