SMS goodbye, here comes Google’s solution that challenges WhatsApp

Google is working on the RCS communication standard that will retire SMS and challenge WhatsApp. Here's how it works and what's new for users

Google's dream of replacing SMS with the new RCS (Rich Communications Service) protocol is taking more and more shape. After having launched this summer the new communication standard and having announced to develop a new app for instant messaging in the style of WhatsApp and iMessagge (which will be called Chat), Google is ready to give shape to its new project.

While in France and Great Britain the Mountain View company has signed agreements with operators to implement the new RCS  standard on Android devices, in the United States the four major telephone operators Verizon, At&t, Sprint and T-mobile have decided to create a joint venture to implement the technology in their systems. The new project is called Cross-carrier messaging initiative (Ccmi) and aims to replace SMS with the RCS standard that combines the functionality of messaging and MMS. In practice, a perfect copy of WhatsApp.

What is the standard RCS

We could call it SMS 2.0, but in reality it is much more simply a new standard of communication. Rich Communications Service is a new standard developed by Google for Android smartphones and which aims to recreate in the operating system of the green robot what Apple has done with iMessage. In practice, a free communication system between Android smartphones that allows you to send messages, images, videos and any type of multimedia content.

For the moment, the standard is still in the testing phase, but it could make its debut soon, especially in countries where Google has already signed an agreement with telephone operators.

How the RCS standard works

The RCS standard works in the same way as SMS and MMS that it will replace. With one difference: it will be free. To use the new messages 2.0 Google is developing an ad hoc application that will be called simply Chat. The model that inspires the Mountain View company is Apple's iMessage, but the real goal is to steal users from WhatsApp, the true undisputed totem of instant messaging applications.

The new Chat application

The core on which RCS is based is the Chat application. In many ways it will resemble the Messages app already present on Android smartphones, but it will have a few more features and will allow you to send text messages, voice notes, images, videos and multimedia content. In short, the same features that we also find on WhatsApp. The only weak point at the moment concerns security: the RCS standard does not integrate end-to-end encryption that protects messages from the prying eyes of hackers. Google, however, is already working to find a quick solution.

When will it arrive in Italy

Google's intention is to release the new standard worldwide as soon as possible. But first it must close agreements with telephone operators to integrate the RCS standard in their systems. It's hard to say when it will arrive in Italy, but it could make its debut much sooner than we can imagine. The Chat app, linked to the RCS standard, is already under development and some of its features are present in the beta of the Messages app, another Google tool for instant messaging and for sending SMS (the standard ones).