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Google fully rolls out RCS in the US with Messages and Carrier Services update

Earlier this week, we spotted how Rich Communication Services became enabled stateside following a Carrier Services update. Google today announced that RCS is now fully available in Messages for Android stateside.

Google’s head of communication products Sanaz Ahari announced this morning that “RCS is now available to all users in US as of Monday.” She advised users to “update both Messages and Carrier Services.”

Just under a month ago, the company revealed how it’s bringing RCS Chat to all Android users stateside. Like in the UK, France, and Mexico, Google is “upgrading messaging” directly rather than waiting on carriers. This comes ahead of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the US are readying their own Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI). Scheduled for 2020, it will require a new app instead of the default Android client.

The SMS/MMS replacement makes possible real-time typing indicators at the bottom of conversations and read receipts though both can be disabled. There’s also higher-resolution photos and videos thanks to a cloud backend, larger group conversations, and business messaging with airlines and stores. This works over Wi-Fi or data connections, with SMS/MMS otherwise used as a fallback.

During the announcement last month, Google expected full availability by year’s end, and they beat that target with several weeks remaining. After downloading or updating to the latest version of Messages (currently 5.2) and the backend Carrier Services (32.0.283645144) from the Play Store, you’ll be prompted to upgrade to RCS. You can also visit Settings > Chat features to set-up and control.

Messages sent over SMS are referred to as texts, with Google trying to encourage the adoption of the “chat” parlance for RCS. The app detects contacts that have the new standard enabled and the conversation field will say “Chat messages” when so. Otherwise, it will keep saying “Text message.”

Google ended last month’s announcement by noting how it will “continue to work on bringing [RCS] to everyone on Messages around the world.”

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: