We’ve all been there. You receive a video sent via standard text messaging and it’s the most pixelated piece of garbage you’ve ever seen. Well, that may change soon for Android users as Google has announced that it is rolling out its Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard worldwide. The even bigger news is that the company is working on adding end-to-end (E2E) encryption to the service, albeit in beta form.
RCS is a massive upgrade from standard text messaging as it works over Wi-Fi or cellular data and allows for better quality when sending pictures or videos. You’ll also get more enhanced features such as read receipts and much-improved group chats. The best part about RCS is that you can use the service even when you don’t have any cell service, as long as you have an internet connection, no matter where in the world you are.
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.
And while it’s not available to everyone today, Google is beginning to beta test E2E encryption. This means that all of the conversations you have with the service will remain private and secure, only accessible by you and the person you’re chatting with. The company says it is starting with one-on-one threads at first, with group chats presumably coming down the line.
End-to-end encryption ensures that no one, including Google and third parties, can read the content of your messages as they travel between your phone and the phone of the person you’re messaging.
All around, this is good news. If you and your friend both have an Android device and a carrier that supports RCS, you’ll get a massive boost in your messaging experience. And if you’re living on the bleeding edge, you can join the RCS beta program here. Once accepted, all of your one-on-one conversations will automagically be upgraded with E2E.
Unfortunately, you won’t get RCS if you’re using an iPhone. Not like that matters as much as you’re likely using iMessage, which is similar to RCS in many ways. Albeit, iMessage is only available to iPhone users. Unfortunately, that means Android users and iPhone users will still lose the best features of their respective messaging services when messaging each other.