This Thursday (20), Google announced some improvements to its Messages app that can bring it closer to iMessage and WhatsApp. Some of the new features are: the possibility of reacting to texts from any user with emojis, responding to a user individually and watching YouTube videos without having to leave the application.
Some of the new features, of course, are only possible thanks to the RCS (Rich Communications Service) standard, considered the replacement for SMS and widely adopted in the Android system. It even goes beyond text messaging and supports videos, images and group chats.
In the next update, Google promised to add features to make the messenger experience even better. This is the case, for example, with individual replying to messages and reacting with emojis to texts from anyone – even if they do not use RCS.
The company also incorporated the Reminders app into Messages to help users remember important dates without needing multiple apps. For example, if a person’s birthday is saved in the contact, the messenger will let you know.
Another novelty is the possibility to watch YouTube videos without leaving a conversation. In addition, when the app identifies addresses, passwords and phone numbers, it will suggest that the user bookmark the messages so they can be found quickly.
RCS on flights, call suggestions and more
Some features will not reach all countries. In the US, Google says they will be available to “most carriers”. In addition, the company redesigned the icons for the Messages, Phone and Contacts apps to align their visual identities.
Here are some other features that will arrive in the next update:
- When a user receives messages like “Can you talk now?”, the app will suggest a Meet call;
- In this update, the app will also work on Chromebooks and the Pixel Watch;
- In some countries, Google is testing a feature that lets you chat with businesses found by Search and Maps directly from Messages;
- The company will also expand transcription of voice messages beyond the Pixel 7. Support will be given to: Pixel 6, Galaxy S22, Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4;
- In partnership with United Airlines, text messages without discounting the deductible on flights, as long as RCS is activated – a feature that competitors such as WhatsApp and iMessage already have with other airlines.
Google wants all US carriers to adopt RCS
While the update is coming to the Messages app in general, some of the features need RCS. This, as pointed the The Vergecould be a move by Google to get more US carriers to adopt it — its goal is to get the standard off the ground.
Although the protocol is adopted by Android device manufacturers, it also depends on the support of phone companies. For years, the Mountain View giant has been trying to convince Apple to put the standard in place of iMessage.
During a conference, Tim Cook came to say: “I don’t hear our users asking us to put a lot of energy into this right now,” in response to a journalist who asked him about adopting the protocol.
Recently, Google needled Apple was using a song by rapper Drake. According to the company, if iOS gained support for RCS, there would be an equivalence of messaging functionality on the two most used mobile platforms in the world.
Still, the adoption of the standard on iPhones seems to become more and more a distant dream. It is very likely that Apple will not “give the arm to twist”, as it has the most popular messenger in the United States, its main market.