Google is rolling out RCS/Chat in Messages for all US users regardless of carrier
Earlier this year, Google surprised people by bypassing carriers and enabling RCS for users in the UK and France. Since SMS is less used in those two countries due to the prevalence of messaging apps like WhatsApp, the RCS rollout wasn’t that big of a deal. At that time, however, Google said they would love to do the same in the US, but they had to work things out with carriers. Still, people wondered why they couldn’t just bypass the carriers altogether as they did in the UK. Google is finally doing exactly that.
It’s been a long road for Google’s push to replace SMS with RCS. Back in April of 2018, the company paused work on Google Allo in favor of its “Chat” RCS-based messaging standard. “Chat” lives inside Google’s Messages app and it’s used when both parties have RCS enabled. It brings typing indicators, larger group chats, larger file transfers, chat over Wi-Fi, and more. Starting today, Chat/RCS works in the Messages app regardless of your carrier.
There were signs of this happening a few weeks ago when people discovered a way to enable RCS in the Messages app for any carrier. The four major US carriers recently announced their plans to support RCS with a new app, but Google was suspiciously not mentioned. So now Google is taking matters into its own hands.
All you’ll need to use RCS in the US is the Messages app from Google. In the next few weeks, you’ll see a prompt in the app asking if you’d like to enable “Chat” features. Alternatively, you can go into the Settings and look for “Chat features.” You can tell if a conversation is using RCS by the “Chat message” text in the edit box. Google says they expect this service to be broadly available in the US by the end of the year.