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Google brings RCS, the next-gen improve to SMS, to Android telephones on Dash

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As promised earlier this yr, Google is bringing RCS – Wealthy Communications Service, an improve to the SMS normal – to Android gadgets. Its first provider associate on the initiative is Dash, which is rolling out RCS messaging to its prospects with Android gadgets, beginning as we speak. As soon as enabled, RCS will provide Android customers an enhanced messaging expertise over SMS, with options like higher group chats, high-resolution photograph sharing, learn receipts and typing indicators.

Google introduced its plans to maneuver on this path when it acquired RCS supplier Jibe Cell again in September 2015. The Jibe cloud platform will energy the brand new service on Dash, says Google.

Dash subscribers could have their normal SMS expertise upgraded via Google’s redesigned Messenger app on their Android gadgets, supplied they’re on Android KitKat or greater, and have set Messenger as their default SMS utility.

These utilizing choose LG and Nexus telephones from Dash will likely be robotically upgraded to RCS via an app replace, whereas others can manually replace their gadgets by downloading the Messenger app from the Play Retailer.

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Google’s new Pixel-branded smartphones include Messenger pre-loaded, so if a buyer is utilizing an unlocked system on the Dash community and has Messenger put in, it’s going to even have entry to RCS.

Starting subsequent yr, all new Android gadgets from Dash will include Messenger preloaded because the default SMS and RCS messaging app, says Google.

For customers who acquire entry to the brand new messaging expertise on Dash Android telephones, they’ll be capable to reap the benefits of options that rival Apple’s iMessage or different third-party messaging apps. For instance, although MMS as we speak helps group messaging, you possibly can’t do a few of the issues individuals now anticipate – like naming the group, including new members, or leaving an current group. That may change with RCS.

As well as, Dash customers will be capable to share 100x bigger photographs and movies than was doable with MMS, will know if messages are delivered or learn, and can see typing indicators when somebody is writing to you.

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RCS, as a expertise, has been round since 2007, nevertheless it has solely been launched by 49 carriers worldwide, in line with the GSMA. Nonetheless, the group says that Dash is the primary to launch the brand new RCS profile initiative – the opposite launches concerned older iterations on the usual.

That is additionally the primary time Google itself has rolled out RCS help wherever on this planet. (The now Google-owned Jibe platform, after all, had beforehand supported older variations of RCS, nonetheless.)

Whereas positioned to some extent as a means Google can compete with iMessage, the issue with RCS is that it’s not universally adopted. Not like with iMessage, which works with any Apple system, RCS is made out there by carriers, and it gained’t work on older Android smartphones. In different phrases, the influence of this launch – for now, not less than – is proscribed.

Google says it has plans to launch RCS with different provider companions within the “coming months,” however gained’t communicate to which of them, or when.

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Within the meantime, the transfer appears to muddle Google’s messaging ambitions even additional. In any case, the place is Google putting its bets nowadays?

To reap the benefits of RCS, Android customers on supported gadgets have to make use of Google’s Messenger app as their default consumer. However, on the similar time, Google continues to supply its Hangouts chat and calling app, and it’s selling its new Allo app as the way forward for messaging, due to its built-in A.I. assistant. Allo additionally comes pre-installed on Google’s new Pixel smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL. (Hangouts might be set because the default SMS app, Allo can’t).

Allo does work cross-platform – as does Duo, its video counterpart – however they’re each relatively late entries into bigger messaging market, the place third-party apps like WhatsApp, Fb Messenger, and others now dominate.

And, by way of competing with iMessage, Google merely doesn’t have the identical infrastructure in play.

By proudly owning the complete platform – from to software program – Apple is ready to lock customers into its personal iMessage ecosystem on any Apple system. And now, it’s even working a brand new App Retailer on prime of that platform.

Google might be able to persuade extra carriers to roll out RCS sooner or later, however that may take time. And the expertise gained’t be as front-and-center as iMessage is in Apple’s world, as customers on supported gadgets should improve their apps, change their default settings, and/or improve from older Android telephones to make use of it. Within the meantime, fragmentation will proceed amongst RCS and non-RCS Android gadgets, to not point out Google’s personal rising variety of various messaging apps it could possibly’t appear to cease creating.

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