Today marks the end of a long night for Android users in the US: Google has flipped on Rich Communication Services, or RCS, for most Android users. RCS is the successor to SMS and enables modern chat features like typing indicators and high-resolution photos and videos right in your texting app.
The news was delivered on Twitter by Sanaz Ahari, a design director for Messages at Google. There are some requirements, however: users have to be on Messages for Android, Google’s texting client. This is especially applicable to people with Samsung phones, which use the company’s own first-party texting app.
All of this is great news for Android users who’ve been forced to choose between proprietary chat apps like WhatsApp or the 27-year-old creaking ship that is SMS, but it certainly wasn’t an easy journey. Google essentially had to side-step carriers who have agreed (on paper) to deliver a unified texting app some time in 2020.