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Google joins with mobile carriers to bring RCS to Android

In an effort to modernise SMS messaging, Google and a number of mobile service providers are working together to expedite the release and adoption of Rich Communication Services (RCS) on Android.

The company will be joined by the wireless standards group GSMA along with many global and regional carriers including America Movil, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, Millicom, Orange, Sprint, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, Telstra, Turkcell and Vodafone.

RCS is a continuing program that was developed by the GSMA to create a new cross-operator messaging platform that functions similar to way SMS does. This new communication service would incorporate many of the features - such as file sharing, IP voice calls, and group messaging - that drove users away from SMS and towards internet based messaging platforms such as iMessage, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram.

In recent years, many users have shunned SMS messaging in favour of these new messaging platforms. As a result SMS has lost the popularity it once had while WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have grown their user bases significantly.

WhatsApp now has one billion monthly active users and Facebook Messenger is quite close to reaching that number as well.

Google has taken note of how its Android users have moved away from SMS and it understands the importance messaging platforms have to its users. This is why the company recently acquired the startup Jibe Mobile which works to help mobile operators include support for a number of messaging features into their services.

Google will making the Jibe platform available to mobile operators to allow them to easily support RCS without having to develop their own infrastructure.

Android and its users could stand to benefit from the new messaging options that RCS will allow across carriers while at the same time Google will put itself in a better position to compete with Facebook which currently owns and operates both Messenger and WhatsApp.

Photo Credit: Kirill__M / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.