Google is done waiting for U.S. carriers to roll out Rich Communication Service (RCS) text messaging in its Android Messaging app.
RCS is an open messaging standard designed to put non-iPhone handsets on equal footing with Apple’s offering. It lets you chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data, send and receive higher-resolution photos and videos than is possible with MMS, and see whether recipients received your sent messages. It also enables more functionality for group chats.
The RCS issue came to a head in the wake of the launch of the Pixel 4, which is the first Google handset to be offered by all four major U.S. carriers. But none of the carriers enabled RCS messaging on their networks, preferring instead for customers to use their own messaging services.
So Google is now doing what it does elsewhere in the world: It is simply bypassing the carriers and offering RCS messaging via its own servers.