Google RCS chat is now available worldwide

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Users will be able to start using Google RCS chat and end-to-end encryption will be coming soon

Google’s RCS-based messaging initiative today reached a major milestone by announcing preparations for another. As of today, Google’s RCS is available worldwide (with a handful of seemingly permanent exceptions) and end-to-end encryption will start rolling out for beta testers this month.

For those of you unfamiliar, RCS is a new standard for messaging essentially meant to replace the old SMS that many of us still use with a data-driven solution, enabling things like higher quality media and write prompts.

Operators initially had the responsibility to implement a replacement, but after they inevitably screwed it up, Google took matters into their own hands with their own universal profile-based “chat” standard, built directly into the Messages app.

Google launches the full service

We have been following its implementation for months and according to Google it is now “complete” and available in all countries that will get it. Notable exceptions, based on the map below, include China, Cuba, Iran, and Russia. However, we should keep in mind that some of us still don’t see it working in Messages at the time of this writing; At least one of us at T-Mobile has had problems with it in the last week and another in Germany is not connecting either.

Among the few drawbacks to Google’s RCS solution was a lack of encryption, but the company has announced that it will be coming to the platform soon. It will be tested first later this month for one-on-one conversations for those in the beta version of Messages, with broader support planned next year. Once enabled, neither Google nor its operator can read messages in transit.

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It’s been a long journey, and while US carriers still have plans for their own compatible universal profile-based RCS system, none of that matters now. Google has finally delivered on its multi-year plans to bring better messaging to Android, and in markets where carriers have failed, Chat in Messages may close the gap.


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