In the modern age where smartphone users can communicate instantly in a flowing conversation through services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, traditional SMS technology seems rather quaint. However, its SMS remains the de facto messaging tool on the Android operating system. Google is now slowly seeking to replace SMS technology with Rich Communication Services (RCS), but what exactly is RCS?
Google has recently announced it’s is testing RCS messaging technology in France and the United Kingdom. The company has modernized across many services, including its core search engine where finding websites such as states-lotteries.com is easier than ever. However, in terms of smartphone messages, the company has remained behind the times with SMS technology.
By shifting to Rich Communication Services, Google wants to revolutionize messaging on Android and better compete with WhatsApp.
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While still a dominant tech force, Google is constantly seeking to branch out and increase its revenue. Finding success in a market such as messaging would be timely considering the company saw it’s stock price fall following confirmation that ad revenue has declined in recent months.
Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a communication protocol that is also known as Advanced Messaging. It is an implementation that interacts between smartphones and mobile network carriers. It is seen as a replacement for the traditional SMS messaging method because RCS delivers a more modern communications model.
Services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have changed the way people communicate on their smartphones and have largely made the SMS text message obsolete. A service like WhatsApp allows users to communicate in real-time through a flowing conversation. Furthermore, modern messaging applications have features such as read and send receipts, the ability to easily share media, and text suggestions.
While SMS apps have evolved to try to cater to modern users, they still feel old fashioned. This has been a problem for Google, which has seen its WhatsApp competitor Hangouts fail to make a major impact on the messaging market.
Android is the world’s largest platform, but Google does not have a foothold in how users communicate on its OS. By embracing RCS technology, the company aims to deliver a WhatsApp competitor in-built on Android. In return, the RCS market will get a major backer in one of the world’s largest tech companies.
Indeed, if Google can implement RCS across Android, the technology will become mainstream on billions of devices. At the moment, Google’s RCS ambitions are experimental, but the company has launched its first RCS application in France and the UK.
However, Google had to break away from the normal method of delivering RCS. Usually, the technology is implemented through a mobile carrier network. Google was attempting to partner with numerous network providers but found the process too slow. Instead, Google has gone direct and is delivering its RCS solution itself.
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RCS technology has often been criticized because of its patchy availability, especially in markets like the United States. If Google can get its RCS solution up and running and expand it, availability may become universal across all Android smartphone devices.
Not All Perfect
It’s not all good news for Google and users looking forward to using RCS technology. While Rich Communications Services provides many of the perks offered by services such as WhatsApp, it has some limitations. For example, RCS does not boast end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage.
Many communications apps are embracing end-to-end encryption, which prevents third parties from seeing what content is sent between contacts. Through end-to-end, not even the service provider (such as WhatsApp) can see what is sent between the sender and recipient. In a world where privacy is in the spotlight, end-to-end encryption is becoming an increasingly important feature.
RCS has been criticized for its lack of encryption protocols and it will be interesting to see if Google has any plans to solve this problem.