Google’s SMS 2.0 are coming to Europe: here’s what they are

After announcing them a few months ago, Google is bringing its SMS 2.0 to Europe (including Italy). It is an alternative to WhatsApp and Apple Messages

The SMS with RCS technology that Google and Samsung are trying to push around the world to compete with Apple's iMessange service and the many instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram are coming to Europe. Already available in France and the UK, "SMS 2.0" has also appeared in Italy on a few Pixel phones.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome OS and Google Play, posted a tweet in which he says he's hoping for collaboration between U.S. phone carriers aimed at spreading RCS messages. In the same tweet he also mentions that RCS is fully operational in the UK and France and will soon be coming to other countries. What's interesting about this tweet is that it's a response to one from Dieter Bohn, editor of The Verge who posted a link to his article "I thought I could do without iMessage. I was wrong."

What is RCS SMS

The acronym RCS stands for "Rich Communication Services". It's a communication protocol with features virtually identical to those of messaging apps: the ability to send multimedia files, group chat, confirmation of receipt and reading of messages (the famous tick and double tick) and so on. Unlike messaging apps, however, this protocol is universal: a user can use a client developed by Google, another may prefer another client from another developer. Both clients, however, speak the same language and the two users communicate with each other transparently. Messages are also encrypted to increase their security and privacy.

Operators don't like them

Google has long tried to convince telephone operators to favor the RCS SMS standard, but without great results neither in America nor in Europe. That's why it later preferred to ally with Samsung, to push RCS together. The issue is that this standard is useful and commercially interesting for those who develop client applications, such as Google Messages and Samsung Messages, because it is inside the apps that users talk about their interests and tastes. RCS, on the other hand, is absolutely indifferent for operators who, indeed, as long as they don't directly manage user chats have even less responsibility in case something goes wrong. Phone operators are interested in selling traffic and from existing apps like Messenger, WhatsApp and the like a lot of traffic is generated.