Google rolled out RCS (Rich Communication Services) Chat in the United States. This is something that iPhone users have been accustomed to for years via iMessage and finally, Android users can have it. RCS is an upgrade to traditional SMS text messaging which includes features you see on regular messaging apps like WhatsApp.
It allows you to send high resolution photos, videos and audio files. You can also turn on read receipts to let others know you’ve read their messages. It shows typing indicators that lets others know you are typing. It basically works like WhatsApp, but on your Messages app.
Google started rolling out this feature on Messages in the United States first, you can still get it in Kenya. It involves following a few steps which I’ll outline below.
- Install the Messages app for Android. If you already have it, great! But you’ll need to join the beta channel so that you can get the version that works currently. (ver 5.3.074)
- Install Carrier Services from the PlayStore if you do not have the app. Clear the cache.
- Download the Activity Launcher app from the Playstore.
- Force stop the Messages (beta) app so as to make sure it doesn’t run in the background.
- Open up the Activity launcher app. Scroll to Messages, expand the options and tap on “Set RCS Flags”
- Under the “ACS URL” section, select ‘”http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox google.com/.” option.
- Under “OTP Pattern”, select the only option listed.
- Click Apply.
- Go back to Messages and reload the app.
Once done, you should see an odd sign at the top next to the search icon. You’ll now proceed to setup RCS on your phone. Click ‘Agree’ and it will verify your phone number. Follow the prompts and if you’re successful, it will show you are connected under settings.