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Google’s RCS Rollout

Dieter Bohn, writing at The Verge:

We’ve been hearing about RCS, the replacement for SMS texting, for over a year now, but actually using the next-generation service has been nearly impossible due to complicated carrier and phone maker politics. But now Google is taking over: later this month, Android users in the UK and France will be able to opt in to RCS Chat services provided directly by Google instead of waiting for their carrier to support it.

That seems like yet another minor status check-in on the service meant to replace SMS, but in fact it’s a huge shift in strategy: as Google rolls this offering out to more countries, it should eventually mean that RCS will become universally available for all Android users.

Regarding RCS’s lack of end-to-end encryption, Sanaz Ahari, Google’s product management director overseeing Android Messages, gave Bohn an anodyne statement:

We fundamentally believe that communication, especially messaging, is highly personal and users have a right to privacy for their communications. And we’re fully committed to finding a solution for our users.

I hope Google can pull that off, but I don’t see how it’s possible with the carriers’ role in RCS. I wouldn’t bet on RCS ever coming to fruition, period, let alone with genuine E2E encryption. I’d bet $10 that a year from now, Google says “Forget about RCS, here’s something else.”

Monday, 17 June 2019