What is RCS and why does it matter that more users are accessing it in Google Messages? One of the most important implications of the news in question comes down to encryption. In 2021, Google rolled out end-to-end encryption for Google Messages in RCS. That means that up to half of Android users using Google Messages are reaping the benefits of that feature.
RCS is used for discussions by up to 500 million of Google Messages’ monthly active users. This is according to a Google I/O 2022 announcement. With reported users as of late 2020, that practically equals to about half of Google Messages users. But, more crucially, this means that more users than ever before are benefiting from both the ease and security characteristics of the messaging protocol.
Moreover, that means that more users than ever are able to send larger images and video files. With geolocation sharing, read and delivery receipts, typing indicators, and more. Bringing the Android user-base more in line with what users on Android’s biggest competitor, iOS, experience. The company also took the opportunity to call out Apple, as one of the sole holdouts to adopting next-generation messaging via RCS. Although it didn’t call the company out by name.
While Google and Android partners across the span of OEMs have made use of RCS, Apple has not enabled its messaging apps to support the standard. That means that Apple has effectively forced interactions between Android and its iOS to take place over older, less secure fallback technologies. Namely, SMS and MMS. During its I/O 2022 keynote, Google noted its hope that “every mobile operating system gets the message and upgrades to RCS.” Pointing specifically to security and privacy features found in RCS. And that messages between platforms and devices aren’t as private and secure as they could be.