Slow and steadily, Google is plugging-in on some much-touted feature in its Messages app for Indian users. The company seems to have started rolling out the RCS (Rich Communication Services) support for its Google Messages app users in India.
Those who may not know, RCS upgrades your normal SMS service/app to a rich media, interactive and real-time chatting services like WhatsApp or Telegram. It packs rich features like images, videos, location sharing, mapping directions, payments, group chat and more. You could chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data with graceful fallback to SMS and MMS. As long you’re connected to Wi-Fi or under your mobile data quota, there is no cost for sending and receiving messages. It’s Google and Android answer to Apple iMessage.
Back to our topic, Google Messages app users in India seems to be receiving a new notification while opening the app to enable “Chat feature” which is Google’s way of saying to add RCS support. Once you agree to the terms (which is from Jibe Mobile from Google) the feature would be automatically enabled. If in any case, your telco or device can’t automatically set up the chat feature, then a prompt will appear to manually setup by verifying your phone number.
Once the chat feature is enabled, you could find a new menu option under Settings > Chat feature. There you could find the status of whether or not you’re connected to RCS chat, option to enable/disable – chat feature, read receipts, show typing indicators and auto-down limit.
To know if your message is sent by mobile data, SMS, or MMS check the send icon in the composer bar. There would be a clear indication in the send icon (SMS or MMS text-markings) if send through SMS or MMS.
It seems Google Messages RCS support being rolled to users on Airtel and VodafoneIdea networks. Personally, as an Airtel customer, I too got the RCS support for Google Messages. Currently, we don’t have any reports from the other two telcos Jio and BSNL supporting this feature.
If you want to try out the new Chat feature or Messages with RCS support, then download or update to the latest version of Google Messages app, which is also the default SMS app on stock Android devices.