November has been a big month for RCS — the cellular messaging protocol championed by Google — and now, the corporate is capping it off with the announcement of a milestone and some festive new features. First, the quantity: in accordance with Google, over 1 billion month-to-month lively customers are utilizing RCS in Google Messages. That’s large, contemplating help was scarce only a handful of years in the past, although not solely shocking because it’s been the default messaging service on Android phones for a couple of years now.
As for the brand new messaging options, a few them may sound acquainted to iOS customers. There’s a brand new characteristic that ties into your Google account to create a Contact Poster-like profile along with your title and picture. Google is including one thing known as Photomoji, which helps you to reduce individuals out of your photographs and use the photographs to react to messages as you’ll with an emoji.
Apple offers something similar in iOS 17, although it’s a must to flip your picture cutouts into stickers so as to add them to iMessage conversations. Based mostly on a particularly scientific examine of, like, 5 of my pals, this isn’t catching on in a short time.
Google Messages can even allow you to connect an emoji whenever you ship a voice message, which Google calls a “temper.” That’s a pleasant manner to assist somebody get the tenor of your message at a look. Emoji shared in group chats or used as reactions will generally embody an animation, too. And in a bit nod to the entire inexperienced bubble / blue bubble scenario, Google Messages will now allow you to change the colour of the chat bubbles on every of your conversations.
I spoke to Android messaging VP and GM Sanaz Ahari concerning the new options and the place RCS is usually, which after all, means asking about Apple. There’s good motive to be enthusiastic about RCS on the iPhone as a result of — as Ahari aptly places it — “group chats are simply actually, actually damaged as we speak between Android and iOS.” Apple’s dedication to supporting the RCS common profile 2.0 implies that picture and video sharing throughout platforms will get a lot better, however Ahari acknowledges that the two.0 spec doesn’t embody end-to-end encryption.
“We’re actively working with the GSMA — and Apple is a member of the GSMA — to evolve the spec to incorporate not solely end-to-end encryption, but additionally a whole lot of options that aren’t within the RCS spec that we’re engaged on including again to the spec.” Threaded replies, learn receipts, and reactions are a couple of of these options which might be unlikely to be supported for iPhone customers as the usual exists as we speak. “General, what we hope is that the fashionable messaging options and end-to-end encryption might be a actuality cross-platform.”
That’s all a methods off, however within the meantime, Google’s new messaging options might be trickling out to RCS customers on Android telephones. In the present day’s characteristic drop additionally consists of some useful good residence integrations with Put on OS so you’ll be able to set your Google Dwelling standing, set off a bunch of lights, or begin a routine out of your watch. All of it rolls out beginning as we speak, with the brand new messaging options debuting first in open beta.