Google Wants To Replace SMS With A Better Messaging Platform 

Google Wants to Replace SMS With a Better Messaging Platform

Texting is long overdue for a makeover. The simple, utilitarian Short Message Service (SMS) has served our messaging needs well for more than a decade, but as our texts become increasingly crammed with photos and videos, it's clear that SMS can no longer meet the needs of the average smartphone user. That's where Rich Communications Services (RCS) comes in: the much-better platform that Google wants to put on your phone. Google is working with a laundry list of carriers to make RCS the standard for all Android devices. In a move announced today by the GSMA, which is a global consortium of 800 carriers, Google will help create a universal RCS client (currently named Jibe) that will be adopted by all the GSMA carriers.

What makes RCS so much better? An RCS-powered Android client could enable messaging features like group chat, high-resolution photo sharing and read receipts (for better or for worse). In the near future, video calling could also be supported by RCS. And of course, RCS would still support lower-tier standards like SMS and MMS as well.

The accelerated rollout of RCS is a direct response to popular messaging services like WhatsApp, which currently has a billion users worldwide and is owned by Google's chief rival Facebook. The GSMA has been pushing the transition to RCS for almost a decade, but the slow-moving initiative has clearly lost ground to other apps and devices. If you have an iPhone this won't matter to you at all because Apple has developed its own iMessage platform which doesn't use RCS.

So yes, RCS will help Google and its affiliated carriers and device manufacturers potentially win the messaging war, since Android is installed on about 80 per cent of the world's phones. But the good news is that this upgrade is also definitively better for users — it's better to have one messaging platform that works across countries and carriers. Getting Google to sign on could be the big push that RCS needs to become the true universal standard.

[Jibe via Quartz]

Image via Shutterstock



    Tis why I still stick with plain old SMS and email for O/S (unless it's important).

    Both methods are still commonly accepted/accessible forms of comm's and doesn't require a flapping seperate app/registration.

    As you can tell, I'm pretty old school.

    It'll be interesting if/when RCS is ratified by all existing platforms and carriers.

    Albeit the latter will initially have a field day, grabbing a bit more coin.

      I think the idea here is that RCS will be built into hangouts, which is already on every android phone or tablet, whether you like it or not. (unless you have specifically flashed the micro gapps with your custom ROM to avoid most of the google automated installs)

      Google already tried to get people making Hangouts the default messaging app, and it hasn't been that successful. I tried it, it just doesn't work very well as you get confused by which contacts have hangouts and which ones don't. In a case where a contact has both, there are many circumstances where you just want to send a regular SMS that won't get lost in all the app notifications.

    As much as it kills me, SMS is a dying method.
    Most of my friends have already migrated to other methods (slack, yammer, face book, whats app etc...) and the only time they revert back to SMS is for obscure messages (marketing, automated messages, voice mail or parents).
    Hopefully the death of SMS will reduce plan costs for mobiles with the tag line '$400 of included SMS!' for every plan made redundant.

    as much as i love android and google, im not surprised if they chuck in some monitoring in the RCS as well. you know, anti-terrorism and all that.

      Monitoring to serve you more ad's methinks...

      If I understood right, RCS is backed/supported by Google, not hosted.
      Ultimately it'll be the carriers hosting the service for supported handsets, but I stand to be corrected.

      If Google 'wants' to host it, I'll likely to avoid it like the plague.

      I can't see traditional SMS killed off anytime soon. It requires nothing special and no data.

      You're likely to send/receive SMS' in disperse or foreign locations we're coverage is poor/limited. Why impede this function?
      Also there's emergency apparatus' that use text message for alerting (fire, smoke, temp, etc...) that'll be obsolete...

      Faxes were touted as obsolete when email became mainstream.
      Dispite their rapid decline they're still used, supported and equipment still on sale, although limited.

      Last edited 23/02/16 1:56 pm

        Yeah ads and scanning messages were my first though too.
        Text a friend about where to go for dinner, get 20 messages on deals at places to eat.

    All of my family, work colleagues, etc all use SMS. Its a trusted platform that can work on dumb phones, it's reliable across borders, it doesn't require any IT savvy to use nor does it require a data plan.

    Messaging apps are great and it's how I communicate with friends most of the time (that and e-mail) but for a large portion of the population, good old SMS is what they prefer.

    Why should we care? With 4G there is no voice network, no sms network, it is all just a pure IP network.
    With a pure IP network you can set up any type of messaging systems.

    The ubiquity of sms, and the lack of crap in it like video, audio, and photos is why I like SMS.
    If you have a GSM module, you can write SMS sending and receiving code with a tiny amount of space

    All this android based messaging will do is further fragment the messaging space.

    No mention of how this will be more secure and/or encrypted?

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