Google has long been working on Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol that is meant to replace the aging SMS. SMS as a protocol has been around since the early days of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM). For context, the first SMS message was sent back in 1992. This makes the protocol about 27 years old. Moving to RCS, it builds on SMS to offer advanced features such as typing indicators, file transfer, and more. This makes it somewhat closer to what we get on WhatsApp but without the need for a third-party Facebook-owned app. To understand Google Messages RCS, let’s focus on the development of RCS.
As we all know, the messaging situation on Android is a bit of a mess…at least in the United States. While most of us in the U.S. still use SMS, the rest of the world has shifted to better messaging services like WhatsApp or Telegram. It’s not easy to convince your friends and family to switch to a new chat app, so a lot of power users in the U.S. are banking on the SMS to RCS transition to improve the messaging situation. Despite Google’s best efforts, the company has only managed to enable RCS for all users in the UK and France, two markets where it’s not as desired. Thanks to a couple of Redditors, there’s now a way to force enable RCS on any carrier or device, provided you’re using Google’s Messages app.