Google to begin rolling out RCS chat to Android users this month

RCS messagingRCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging, the next generation of SMS messaging, has long been the talk of the town but has been mostly unable to get off the ground with the failure of mobile network operators and phone makers to get on board. Now, Google has had enough and is taking charge.

According to The Verge, the search giant will give Android users in the UK and France the option to opt-in to RCS chat services provided directly by Google this month. However, there’s no word on when RCS will roll out to other markets.

At the backend of last year, Google made it clear that it would begin to focus heavily on bringing RCS to its Messages app. A month later, in January, it announced it would be adding RCS messaging to its Google Fi mobile virtual network.

The latest move is a shift in strategy from Google, which was previously waiting on carriers to begin offering its service. As such, its decision to bypass these companies is a significant one and will finally bring an iMessage-like experience to Android users.

Research has predicted that 1.01bn people will use RCS messaging across 168 mobile operators around the globe by the end of this year.

Limited support for RCS has already been rolled out by the likes of Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the US, and Vodafone in the UK.