Google is rolling out an iMessage-like chat service: Here’s how to use it

Google has now slowly started rolling out its much-anticipated RCS messaging feature to Android users. The messaging service called Chat is Google’s answer to Apple’s iMessage, and it is based on a wireless standard called Rich Communication Services (RCS). This new service will make texting a lot more fun, and to help you derive the maximum benefit, we have explained how to use RCS texting in Android.

use RCS texting in Android

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All you need to know about RCS texting in Android

Google is currently rolling the service out in the U.K., France and the U.S. This means if you own an Android phone, irrespective of the carrier you are on, your phone will support RCS, provided you get the update. All you need to use the feature is the official Google Messages app. The search giant expects to roll out the service to all U.S. users by the end of the year. Google’s new service is expected to replace SMS texts.

“Texting is largely based on the SMS standard which lacks a lot of modern features, like sharing high quality photos and media or being able to message over Wi-Fi,” Google Product Management director Sanaz Ahari said.

Like iMessage, Chat supports read receipts and shows ellipsis symbols to indicate when the other person is typing. The service also allows you to send texts over Wi-Fi and supports sending higher-resolution images and videos.

With Google’s Chat, you will be able to chat with any other Messages users, including Samsung Messages users on Sprint and U.S. Cellular. Like iMessage, users will also have the option to disable the service.

Although the Chat service is good overall, there are a few limitations. The first is that RCS doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption like iMessage, WhatsApp and others. The messages are sent from the user’s phone to Google’s server and then to the recipient’s phone, and then they are deleted from the servers, but they aren’t encrypted end to end.

The second shortcoming is that the big four U.S. carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) can’t connect to each other through RCS. The carriers plan to join RCS next year. Moreover, it is possible that the RCS service could conflict with carriers’ own texting apps.

How to enable RCS texting in Android

To use RCS texting in Android, the first thing you will need is an Android phone. The phone must have Google’s Messages app, and it must be set as the default text messaging app. Once you have installed and set the Messages app as the default app, the next thing you need to do is enable Chat.

To enable the service, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Messages app and then Tap the Settings button on the top-right.
  2. Tap on Settings and then tap “Chat features.”
  3. Toggle the Chat feature on. If there is no Chat feature in the settings section, then your device hasn’t yet received the update.

That’s it!

When the RCS feature reaches your device, you will get a notification that it is now available. You will then have to follow the on-screen instructions to enable the feature.

From the same Settings page in the first method, you can also enable or disable typing indicator and read receipts, and also control what happens if the service fails to send a message. Moreover, if you run into any issues with the service, the first thing that you should check is if the Chat service is connected to your phone or not. If the status says Connected, it means your phone number is registered with the service and you can use the feature.

How to use RCS texting in Android

Now that you have enabled the Chat service, you should also know about all its features to effectively use RCS texting in Android. Even when Chat is enabled on the device, the Messages app will look the same as before. You should also continue to use it the same way as before.

The app will automatically detect when you are talking to someone via text or through Chat. The person with whom you want to chat via RCS must have the feature enabled as well.

One easy way to see if the conversation is through text or the new Chat feature is by looking at the text box before you start to type. If the box says “Text message,” it means your conversation with that contact is through old-fashioned text, and if it reads “Chat message,” then the conversation is with the RCS service.

When you are using Chat, you will see delivered and read receipts below each message you send. To share high-resolution images or videos, tap on the photo icon in the app and then select video or image. You will see a loading circle on the screen as the photo or video uploads. Once the upload is finished, hit the send button.

You can refer to this video as well to learn more about RCS:



About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at amanjain@valuewalk.com