Verizon bringing RCS-based Google Messages to Android users in 2022

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The last holdout to implement Rich Communications Service (RCS) messages — Verizon — has announced that it's bringing enhanced messaging support to Android users starting in 2022.

The RCS protocol will allow for rich messaging features on Android akin to the kind seen in Apple's iMessage. That includes chatting over Wi-Fi, end-to-end encryption, dynamic group chats, and read receipts — all provided through the Messages by Google app.

Verizon is the last of the major carriers to officially announce Android RCS support. T-Mobile began supporting the new standard in 2020, while AT&T announced the switch back in June 2021.

The carrier said that, starting in 2022, all Android devices sold on Verizon's network will come with the Messages by Google app preloaded. That will allow for the iMessage-like features, as well as more effective business communications.

On the other hand, messages sent from an Android device to an iPhone, and vice versa, will still be based on the aging SMS standard. That means no end-to-end encryption and no rich chat features. Both iPhone and Android users will be able to take advantage of enhanced messaging, but only within their own camps.

In addition to the Messages by Google support, customers will also be able to use RCS on Verizon's Messages+ app by the end of 2021.

"Our customers depend on us to provide a reliable, advanced and simple messaging platform to stay in touch with the people that matter the most in their lives. By working with Google, Verizon will offer our Android users a robust messaging experience that allows them to engage with loved ones, brands and businesses in new and innovative ways," said Ronan Dunne, Verizon Consumer Group's executive vice president and CEO.

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