Google killed off its Allo Instant Messaging app last year focus on its Android Messages app. However, Messages never fully reached its potential. The app featured basic tech messaging support with advanced features like payments, gifs, Google Assistant and even more whizbangery — provided users had access to RCS support.
The issue was, RCS was powered by the carriers, and they were taking their time to roll it out. For users, it may as well not have existed. Now Google is taking control of the process and will automatically enable RCS for all Android devices that support the universal profile. It will start from the UK and France this month according to The Verge and reach out to more countries over the year.
Arguably, Google has given carriers all the time in the world to roll out RCS of their own volition. RCS has been just around the corner for nearly half a decade now, and even some Windows 10 Mobile phones shipped with support from it. In the UK, only Vodafone UK currently offers the service.
To some extent, Google has the same issue it had with Allo. Users are already plugged into WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat and so on. There’s little incentive to switch to another app that already offers the same service. In addition, users have already been trained to switch away from SMS and SMS adjacent apps making it psychologically harder to force a reverse migration. I don’t doubt that it is possible for Google to pull it off, but there’s another issue in the shape of a large half bitten fruit.
That’s right, Apple doesn’t yet support RCS for iOS. This means that only Android users will get the benefits of RCS and would have to stick to plain old SMS for cross-platform messaging purposes. Apple might be adding support for RCS this year, which would be a boon for all users worldwide. Who knows, it may all work out.