Following in T-Mobile’s footsteps, AT&T and Google just announced that all Android phones on the network would use Google’s Android Messages app by default for RCS and SMS. Rich Communication Services (RCS) delivers an improved experience similar to iMessage when both sides use it.
This is important for several reasons as Google tries to improve the messaging situation on Android. RCS has no character limits, has typing and read indicators, reactions, starred messages, works over Wi-Fi, can send larger files, supports better group chats, and offers end-to-end encryption for personal conversations. It’s a vastly better experience than AT&T’s awful messaging app.
More importantly, Google Messages works across different carriers to offer the same great experience. So when Messages detects that you’re texting with another phone that supports RCS, your text entry window will say that you are sending a “Chat” and have “Chat features” enabled. That way, both sides get to enjoy all of the useful features.
With AT&T and T-Mobile both on board, now we just need Verizon to join in on the fun. However, they’ve yet to make any announcements. The other problem is Apple, which doesn’t support RCS at all, meaning we won’t be fixing the green and blue chat bubbles problem anytime soon.
On the flip side, this does bring Android phones as a whole closer to one unified experience. AT&T didn’t confirm its plans exactly, but we imagine all upcoming phones will come with Google Messages out of the box, and existing phones will hopefully get it through a software update. Or, just install Google Messages yourself with the link below.
Source: Google Blog