If you think about, SMS hasn’t added much in the way of bells and whistles since most carriers began offering it over two decades ago. The sheer amount of messaging applications on the market, most of which are free, like WhatsApp, (Facebook) Messenger and the feature rich Snapchat have moved many away from SMS text-messaging, but Google is trying to change that with its RCS Messenger app on Android devices.
Won’t bring the kids back to SMS, but Google is adding features to the standard
Most people that I know who still use the SMS standard for messaging do so as they don’t have internet enabled phones, and this news will mean little to them as Rich Communication Services (RCS) requires the internet but many have limited internet services with constrained data limits, so this partnership with Sprint will add a few helpful features.
RCS simply adds a few features to existing SMS on Sprint phones running Android. Users will know be able to see that someone is answering your original SMS messages as well as more in the way of notifications when someone reads your message. Additionally, Google is making group texting easier by making it easier to add and delete people from said groups.
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The addition of RCS will also free people up to write longer texts and said higher quality photos.
“The beauty of SMS is that more than 4 billion people throughout the world use it,” said Amir Sarhangi, head of RCS at Google. “It’s ubiquitous, and it’s already embedded in your phone.”
But, lets face it, this news is far from earth-shattering even as Google plans to add the features to carriers beyond Sprint. For those with internet data plans on the phone, this news will likely go under the radar as they are using one or more of many fully-featured apps for messaging like Snapchat.
While Google will be adding this increased functionality to well over 50 carriers worldwide, Sprint, for now, will be the first and only integrating into its network.
Users of Sprint Nexus and LG phones will receive the update of Messenger automatically while others will need to head to the Google App store to download the updated Messenger to get started.
No cross platform functionality is yet available but Google promises to get those using iOS phones up to speed in the coming months.