Google says its US launch of Rich Communication Services (RCS) for Android users in the US has been finished, adding Apple’s iMessage-like messaging functionality to its mobile platform.
In November, the company started rolling out RCS to US users broadly through the Google Messages app. Users should allow chat features from an app update distributed through the Google Play Store, Google said at the time.
Sanaz Ahari, Google’s Messages and Duo product management manager, says users will also need to upgrade the Google Carrier Services software to enable new chat apps.
RCS helps Android users to communicate over Wi-Fi or cellular networks, transfer high-quality videos and photos, build group chats, attach and remove people from groups, and see when a group message is read.
“Hi everyone! RCS is now available to all users in US as of Monday. Make sure to update both Messages and Carrier Services,” she said on Twitter.
One RCS criticism is that it does not provide end-to-end encryption, which puts it out of step with iMessage, WhatsApp and Signal anti-snooping features.
Despite the lack of funding from local carriers, Google introduced RCS earlier this year in the UK and France.
While users on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon should now be able to use Google’s Messages app with RCS, the four carriers are planning to launch their own Google-free RCS messaging app by 2020.
Google has revealed last week ‘ Verified SMS’ to address the problem of using well-known brands to use SMS phishing. Users can activate the Settings feature. Businesses use SMS messaging should enroll with Google, which performs a method of message encryption dependent on the phone number of the user.
“When Verified SMS is on and you receive a message from a business registered with Google, Google translates the message you receive into an unreadable authenticity code, all on your device,” Google explains in a support page.
“Then, Google compares this code with unreadable authenticity codes sent to Google by the business. If these codes (also referred to as message hash or message HMAC) match, Google confirms that the message content was sent by the business, and Messages shows you information about the business, such as the business’ logo with a “verified” icon.
“Google uses your device’s phone number to create authenticity codes. Google doesn’t see your messages, including when authenticity codes are sent to Google directly from the business.”