Google seems to have rolled out RCS (Rich Communication Service) messaging in Kenya, which is almost a year since I first used it in this country.
I randomly got a message to set it up on the default Google Messages application and it was smoother than when I first tried it out.
The first thing you will receive is a pop up from Google explaining about the feature. “Messages just got better. Chat over Wi-Fi and data, share higher quality photos, and more with others who have chat features,” it says. Next, it will ask for your phone number and it will set up RCS for you in the background. To confirm whether you have RCS, tap the three dots at the top right corner, go to Settings, General, Chat features and it should say “Connected.”
What is the hype around RCS?
RCS is the successor to the traditional SMS. It is Google’s version of iMessage and they want to make it the primary texting platform on Android. It works like traditional messaging platforms where you can send high quality images, see typing indicators, supports read receipts and improve group chats. However, it doesn’t have end to end encryption like Signal, WhatsApp or iMessage. They have wanted to make RCS a reality for years now. RCS started rolling out in the United States late last year.
All you have to do to get RCS is get Google Messages. If you have a phone that doesn’t use Google Messages by default like Samsung phones, you will need to download the app.
How does it look when you chat with RCS?
Well, first of all, it needs an internet connection to work. This could be either through a data plan or Wi-Fi.
Also, to experience it fully, you need both parties to have RCS enabled. I covered this in an article last year showing how RCS works. When both the sender and the recipient have RCS, the messages have blue bubbles. If they don’t have RCS, it will default back to regular SMS messages which are flat in appearance.