4 Things You Need to Know About Rich Communication Services (RCS)

Rich Communication Services

Texting has changed the way we communicate, that’s for sure. But has it really caught up with all of the things that we like to do today like share high-res photos and larger files, chat with a larger group, know when messages are read by someone, or make video calls? Not really.

You may recall that last Spring, Google revealed its plan to finally catch up in the race for mobile messaging dominance with something they call Chat. Chat is not a new texting app. Instead, think of it more like a new set of features inside the app already installed on most Android phones. “Chat” is the consumer-friendly name for Rich Communication Services (RCS), the new standard that’s meant to supplant SMS, and it will automatically be turned on inside Android Messages, the OS’s default app for texting.

When people begin using Chat, they’ll get many features that are standard in any other texting app, including read receipts, typing indicators, full-resolution images and video, and group texts.

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Wait, WTH? Chat? RCS? IDK….

Rich Communication Services (RCS) was developed in 2007 as a smarter way to send text messages. Rather than accepting the limited features of a standard SMS, RCS makes it easy and fast for users to group text their friends, send high-res images and videos, and receive time-sensitive updates from businesses. Google has long supported the concept of RCS and helped develop a version of their own called Chat.

Chat is not technically a Google service. It is a carrier-based service. So really it’s just “Chat,” not “Google Chat.” In a sign of Chat’s strategic importance, Google has spearheaded development on the new standard, so that every carrier’s Chat services will be interoperable.

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Here are four things you need to know to if you want to be up to speed on Rich Communication Services (RCS):

1. Chat Is a Service — Not an App

Unlike messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, Chat is a service and not another app you have to download. It’s interface will look a lot like SMS, so anyone who can send a text now should have no problem picking up the Chat features.

2. Chat is Not as Secure as iMessage

Apple has set the gold standard in so many ways with iMessage. Chat doesn’t have end-to-end encryption like iMessage, meaning if someone hacks into your phone, they may be able to see your messages rather than a string of unintelligible letters and numbers. This doesn’t mean that Chat isn’t secure, only that Apple has gone the extra mile to keep data protected.

3. Chat May Come to the PC

Syncing up Chat to your personal computer will make it easier to communicate with friends and family. Users can send texts from their laptop or desktop, and receive messages across multiple platforms. Chat will need to have more carriers and networks on board in order to make this happen, but Microsoft has already given Chat their support (which is a good sign).

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4. RCS May Be Widely Available in 2018, but 2019 is More Likely

RCS won’t take the world by storm this month, but it will likely be rolled out later this year or in 2019. It seems clear that Chat has a solid RCS foundation, but it’s not quite ready to come to a mobile device near you just yet.

Here at Glympse, where location-based communication is our business, you can bet we’re thinking and planning around RCS. After all, we believe that for a Glympse to be valuable, it has to be available across every communication channel your end customers are using. We can’t wait to share more, so stay tuned!

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