Android users will finally soon bid farewell to SMS

Google Messages
(Image credit: Google)

Android users around the world will now have access to the new next-generation RCS texting standard as Google looks to finally do away with SMS once and for all.

While the concept for SMS was first developed by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert back in 1984, it wasn't until December of 1992 that the first text message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the UK. Now 28 years later, Google is trying to replace SMS with the open Rich Communications Services (RCS) standard.

The search giant has spent the past several years working with the mobile industry and device makers in countries around the world to provide chat features in its Messages app based on RCS. The upgrade from SMS to RCS will allow users to send and receive better quality photos and videos, chat over Wi-Fi or data, know when their messages are read, share reactions and participate in more dynamic and engaging in group chats.

In a new blog post, Messages product lead Drew Rowny announced that its global rollout of chat features that make RCS universal is now complete and Android users around the world (except in China and Russia) can begin leveraging the new texting standard.

End-to-end encryption for RCS

Keeping conversations private and personal information safe is of the utmost importance to Google which is why the company works to continually improve security protections to safeguard user data in Messages.

To protect user's chats further, the search giant is rolling out end-to-end encryption for one-on-one RCS conversations between people using Messages. Implementing end-to-end encryption ensures that no one, including Google and third parties, can read the content of your messages as they travel from one phone to another.

End-to-end encryption for RCS will begin rolling out to beta testers beginning this month and the rollout will continue into next year. Additionally, users' eligible conversations will automatically upgraded to be end-to-end encrypted as part of the rollout.

Google has long touted the benefits of RCS and now that the new texting standard is available worldwide, users will have a chance to see the improvements it brings for themselves.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.