In a groundbreaking development for mobile messaging, Google proudly announced that over 1 billion users are actively engaging with Rich Communication Services (RCS) on Google Messages. This achievement is remarkable considering the relatively scarce support RCS had just a few years ago, highlighting its swift integration as the default messaging service on Android phones.
As part of the celebratory month for RCS, Google has introduced several exciting features, adding a festive touch to communication:
A new feature integrates with users’ Google accounts to create a Contact Poster-like profile. This includes a user’s name and photo, enhancing personalization within conversations.
Google introduces “Photomoji,” allowing users to cut people out of their photos and use these images to react to messages – a feature reminiscent of iOS but with a unique Google twist.
Users can now attach an emoji, termed a “mood,” when sending a voice message. This feature enables a quick visual representation of the message’s tone, adding a dynamic layer to audio interactions.
In group chats, emojis used as reactions will occasionally include animations, providing an engaging and expressive element to group conversations.
Acknowledging the ongoing preference debate of green versus blue bubbles, Google Messages now allows users to change the color of chat bubbles in individual conversations, adding a personalized touch to messaging.
In an interview with Sanaz Ahari, Android messaging VP and GM, the discussion extended to the current state and future of RCS, particularly in relation to iPhones. Ahari expressed optimism about the potential improvement in cross-platform communication, especially in group chats, which are perceived as “really, really broken today between Android and iOS.”
Apple’s commitment to supporting the RCS universal profile 2.0 is seen as a positive step, promising enhanced image and video sharing across platforms. However, Ahari acknowledged a gap – the 2.0 spec doesn’t include end-to-end encryption.
“We are actively working with the GSMA — and Apple is a member of the GSMA — to evolve the spec to include not only end-to-end encryption but also a lot of features that aren’t in the RCS spec,” Ahari stated. Threaded replies, read receipts, and reactions are among the features under consideration for future implementations.
While these improvements are on the horizon, Google is confident that modern messaging features and end-to-end encryption will eventually become a reality cross-platform, providing users with a more unified and secure messaging experience.
The rollout of these new messaging features commenced with an open beta, ensuring that RCS users on Android phones can gradually experience these enhancements. Additionally, the feature drop includes smart home integrations with Wear OS, allowing users to set Google Home status, trigger lights, or initiate routines directly from their smartwatches.
As of today, users can explore the new messaging features in beta, with the full release expected to follow shortly.
Google’s RCS milestone and feature-rich updates mark a significant leap forward in the world of mobile messaging. The company’s commitment to enhancing cross-platform communication, coupled with exciting and expressive features, promises a more dynamic and enjoyable messaging experience for users.