Google is rolling out RCS, text-messaging on steroids, in the US

Google is Done Waiting for Carriers, Rolls Out RCS to US in Messages Today

Secondly, you need to install Google Messages on your phone and make it your default texting app to get RCS support.

One thing that iPhone users have long held over the head of their Android counterparts is Android's use of SMS for default text messaging.

With RCS on Android, when you and your friends message each other with new chat features, you can chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data, send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, and see if people have received your latest messages.

The switch to RCS should help Android catch up with Apple's iOS on the messaging front by allowing users to see read-receipts and typing indicators, showing recipients have read a message and are keying in a reply.

This is thanks to Google's push for RCS (Rich Communication Services) in SMS text messaging over the past few years, enabled here in the U.S. in late 2019. That's a good month and a half before you could get RCS on your smartphone. For Google, this push for RCS is also a way for the company to more effectively compete with Apple's iMessages (though it doesn't feature end-to-end encryption) and because Google has mostly taken control of this rollout away from carriers, it gets to call the shots on when users get access to this, not the telcos. It involves following a few steps which I'll outline below. If you already have it, great! But you'll need to join the beta channel so that you can get the version that works now.

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Download the Activity Launcher app from the Playstore.

Under "OTP Pattern", select the only option listed. But if you see a toggle to turn it on, you can flip that toggle on there. Oh, there's also a website that requires you to log in with your phone, instead of just logging in with your Google account. Follow the prompts and if you're successful, it will show you are connected under settings.

It works with the beta Messages app in my experience so that is key.

Google's announcement is somewhat of a sidestep or jump start on what wireless carriers are working on for phones.

Sending texts while via RCS does not eat into your airtime. Android has the equivalent Messages app that we know is being supported by Verizon.

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