Google and AT&T dropped a bit of excellent news on the wireless industry today by announcing that AT&T is all-in on Google Messages and RCS. We love this because it means another carrier is onboard for the greater messaging good in the US, following in the footsteps of T-Mobile.
Going forward, Google Messages will be the default messaging app on AT&T Android phones, thus adding “Chat” or RCS to them as well. Again, this is similar to what T-Mobile announced in March of this year, with all of their Android phones also adopting Google Messages and RCS through it.
If you haven’t been following this news over the years, this is big for SMS and texting, since so many folks in the US still talk via text messaging and not through more advanced messaging apps like Telegram or Signal. RCS (Rich Communication Services) is an upgrade of SMS (or traditional texting) that allows you to send full resolution pictures to people, send higher-quality video, know when someone is typing, send/receive over WiFi, and get into bigger and better group chats. Individual RCS conversations are encrypted as well.
The nice thing about RCS or “Chat” is that it’s built into your texting app, like Google Messages. So instead of having to install another messaging app, Google Messages includes RCS and gives you the features without a user really having to do anything. And that’s (again) why this is big news to have AT&T and T-Mobile committing to Google’s messaging app.
Google didn’t say in their blog post, but I’d imagine this will happen going forward with new devices sold by AT&T. I’d imagine their current crop of phones will still have whatever their current messaging app is. However, if you are on AT&T, you can always install Google Messages, make it your default texting app, and then activate “Chat” or RCS.
Where you at, Verizon?