Google starts rolling out major change to delivered and read messages sent over RCS

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Google starts rolling out major change to delivered and read messages sent over RCS
It was exactly one month ago when we told you that Google was broadening its test of new read and delivered icons for RCS messages. RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is the Android equivalent of Apple's iMessage platform. With RCS there are no character limits, higher quality image, and video files can be shared, messages are sent with end-to-end encryption, users receive a read receipt when a message they sent has been read by the recipient, and a typing indicator appears when a reply is being typed by the recipient.

Google's RCS is very similar to Apple's iMessage


Of course, all of these features are only available when two Android users are messaging each other and both are using the Google Messages app. Should an iOS user join the group chat, all of those great features-including end-to-encryption-are disabled. In other words, RCS is very much similar to iMessage although you don't see Android users insulting iPhone users when they join a group chat comprised solely of RCS users.


In the past, if two RCS users were chatting with each other, the one sending a message would see the word "delivered" when his/her message was received by the other party. Once the message was read, the sender would see the word "read" under his message. This obviously allowed a user to know whether his missive was indeed received by the recipient, and more importantly, whether the message was read.

But Google has changed this and as we noted last month, it had been testing the use of a checkmark system similar to what WhatsApp uses. When a message has been sent, underneath it, you'll now see a small circle with a single checkmark inside it. When the message is delivered to the recipient, you'll see two circles side-by-side, each with a single checkmark inside. And when the message has been read, the two circles are filled and the checkmarks are now white against a black background.

Per 9to5 Google, the update is rolling out now. For the other RCS user that you're messaging to receive a read receipt and a typing indicator when you've read his message and started typing out a reply, you need to make sure that you have both features toggled on. To do that, open the Google Messages app and tap on the picture profile in the upper right corner of the search field. Tap on Message settings > RCS chats and make sure Send read receipts and Show typing indicators are both toggled on.

Google wants to know why we can't all just get along


Google has been trying to pressure Apple to support RCS on iOS. This would end the green bubble bullying that takes place when an Android user joins a group chat made up of iOS users and disables all of the special iMessage features including end-to-end encryption, read receipts, typing indicators, and higher-quality images. As we noted at the top of this article, similar RCS features are disabled whenever an iOS user joins a chat made up of RCS users. So why can't we all just get along?

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When a chat is going on between iOS users, all text is seen in a blue text bubble. Once an Android user joins the chat, the text bubble turns green. And that seems to bring out the worst in iOS users. Google created a video last year which we've embedded in this story. The video is clever since it throws back Apple's "think different" ad campaign from pre-iPhone days and also points out that by not supporting RCS, the company is downgrading the mobile experiences of its own customers.

Alas, Google might as well be banging its head against a wall(ed garden). Meanwhile, we'd imagine that not too many consumers know that Google Message's RCS offers the same features as iMessage. As a result, some Android users use a messaging app provided by their carrier. If you have an Android phone and want a chat experience equal to Apple's iMessage platform, you need to install the Google Messages app (also known as Messages by Google). You can find it in the Play Store.

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