In an exclusive with The Verge, Google has detailed their messaging strategy to push the RCS (rich communication services) platform forward.

Google is branding the RCS Universal Profile as Chat. No not Google Chat or anything like that, just simply Chat. RCS is technically a carrier-based service so it’s up to carriers to “flip the switch” to enable it for their users.

Android Messages Group Chat Preview. Image: Google via The Verge

The benefit of RCS is that is can deliver a more advanced and richer experience when chatting with friends and family. RCS has features like typing indicators, read receipts, groups texts, full resolution photos and video.

Smart reply in Android Messages preview. Image: Google via The Verge

Universal Profile is a set of features and specs that carriers and phone makers can use to deploy RCS.

Support for RCS is already built into Android Messages, the default SMS app on Google’s latest phones and some OEMs. And soon other OEMs will implement support for RCS in their messaging apps.

Google has partnered with around 55 carriers and 11 phone manufacturers to push the use of Chat in the near future. You can see all the carriers and manufacturers below.

The companies that support the RCS Universal Profile as of April 2018. Image: GSMA via The Verge

When asked about when consumers will see RCS fully implemented, Google’s Anil Sabharwal who’s in charge of Chat at Google and formerly worked on Google Photos, said,”By the end of this year, we’ll be in a really great state, and by mid-next year, we’ll be in a place where a large percentage of users [will have] this experience.” Also that “it will differ from country to country” and from region to region. Sabharwal adds that “This is not a three- to five-year play. Our goal is to get this level of quality messaging to our users on Android within the next couple of years.”

Google has been working on getting RCS implemented back in 2016 but it looks like we’re still a few years away.

In addition, Sabharwal said that Google is “pausing investment” on their Allo messaging app, which they introduced back in 2016. Sabharwal says, ” “The product as a whole has not achieved the level of traction that we’d hoped for.”

While Google is working on rolling out Chat to the world, the company has confirmed that they are working on an Android Messages for Web interface that allows users to continue their conversations from their computers.

Android Messages web client preview. Image: Google via The Verge

The concept looks similar to Allo for Web and will probably work in a similar manner with using a QR code to sign-in. Google hasn’t said when the Android Message for Web will be rolling out but we may hear something at Google I/O which is just a few weeks away.

If you’re looking for more details about Google’s push for RCS, then I would recommend checking out The Verge’s article in full as well as the video below, in which The Verge’s Dieter Bohn explains it all.

Source: The Verge, (2)

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