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Google has been planning to replace its SMS service for some time now, and it looks as though it is finally happening.
The plans are to bring in a more ' WhatsApp-like' system to enhance the messaging experience for Google users, but don't get too excited, this change is only set for the UK and France so far.
After a conversation with Google, The Verge says the company plans to offer RCS to the UK and France users this June.
In the past, Google was working with mobile networks to support RCS, but with the progress being too slow, the company have decided to cut out the middle man and use its servers to offer RCS directly.
Rich Communication Service (RCS) is a communication protocol between mobile telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is richer, provides phonebook polling, and can transmit in-call multimedia etc.
But don't worry, you will have the option to chose whether or not you want to opt-in or out of RCS and stick wtih SMS.
However, with RCS offering things like read receipts, typing indicators, and high-quality media, many users consider this a valuable upgrade.
Although Google's upgrade is being compared to the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, there is the down side of the system not support end-to-end encryption, meaning your communication won't be as a secure compared to other RCS services. However, Google has said that this is a work in progress.
As of right now, the only release time-frame we have is for the UK and France, so when other countries will follow suit with their upgrade is still unknown. But, Google have said that other countries should get access "throughout the year".
The bottom line is, you will be gaining access to RCS much quicker by Google cutting out the middle man.