Google’s answer to iMessage is finally here
RCS has been promised for years, but carriers have been dragging their feet in enabling it on their networks. So Google decided to provide RCS chat directly through its own servers instead of waiting for the carriers to offer them.
But the rollout may not be as seamless as Google hoped.
For starters, there’s a privacy issue. Unlike iMessage, WhatsApp and Signal, RCS doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption. Google can still technically see messages as they arrive on its servers and may have to turn them over to law enforcement if asked. This could be a concern for Android users and security advocates.
Dan O’Connell, an analyst at research firm Gartner, previously told CNN Business that Google has long needed to catch up with Apple’s iPhone and RCS is a way for it to do so.
“They had been hoping that the service providers would work on supporting RCS themselves,” he said. “But that was very slow to happen, so I think that [Google] decided to take the initiative themselves.”
— CNN Business’ Evelina Nedlund contributed to this report.