Google has completed rolling out RCS to Android users in the U.K. and France and will soon start pushing the platform out to more countries, according to the company’s Hiroshi Lockheimer.
Lockheimer shared the tidbit of information in response to a tweet from The Verge’s Dieter Bohn. Over the weekend, Bohn was tweeting about an article he wrote in which he criticizes Google’s handling of RCS. In short, Bohn argues that by having offloaded the responsibility of rolling out RCS to carriers, Google has failed to provide Android device owners with a secure means to communicate with one another.
We'd love work with our US carrier partners on RCS. Trying!!!! PS: RCS now fully rolled out in UK and FR. Next wave of countries soon.
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) July 27, 2019
Lockheimer didn’t say where Google plans to roll out RCS next. Short for Rich Communication Services, RCS aims to replace SMS messaging with a platform that provides modern features like read receipts, typing indicators and
RCS first launched in Canada in 2016. As it currently stands, however, support for the platform is all over the place. Out of the gate, Rogers was the first of the big three carriers to support the protocol, with Bell following suit a year later. In the case of Bell, the carrier only supports the feature on select devices. Telus has yet to support RCS in any meaningful way, though as earlier this month, it looks like the carrier is working towards enabling the feature.
Anecdotally, I’ve used Android smartphones with Messages (previously called Messenger and then Android Messages) on Fido since RCS first became available in Canada. In all that time, I have yet to take part in a RCS chat with one of my friends; there are just too many factors that have to align for the service to work.
Here’s hoping Google takes greater initiative in making RCS a viable chat platform.