Google announced late last week that they are upgrading the text messaging service available to Android users in Europe and Asia through the addition of RCS service to users on the Telenor network. RCS stands for Rich Communications Services and is widely considered an upgrade to the traditional SMS platform that has powered text messaging for years. Through the partnership with Telenor, over 214 million users in European and Asian countries on the Telenor network will get access to features available via RCS.
Some of the advanced messaging services available through RCS include features like group chats, the sharing of high resolution photos, read receipts and more. RCS supports a universal profile standard supported by more than 58 carriers and smartphone manufacturers around the globe covering some 4.7 billion smartphone users. The backend for the RCS service will be the Jibe RCS cloud from Google.
In a bit of an interesting twist at a time when Google seems to be undecided on just what messaging platform they want to get users onto, Google has selected their Messenger app to be the standard bearer for the RCS features. Users will be able to upgrade their current Messenger app, or install it from the Play Store. Google also indicates plans are underway for Telenor to provide the Messenger app as a default app on new smartphones being sold on their networks.
Google does not indicate an exact date for the launch of RCS support on the Telenor network, but it will likely be a phased rollout over the next few months. Telenor covers markets in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and India.