Back in February Google announced their SMS upgrade plans for RCS (Rich Communication Standard) using their Jibe standard. Today they have announced that their first carrier partner has turned on the system.
To recap RCS upgrades your basic SMS experience to include more modern features like those you’d find in a chat service, including group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts, and more. Google’s SMS app, Messenger, will be upgraded to act as the client for these features.
Good news right? Not so much. Google’s universal RCS profile is only one version of an RCS standard, it seems in the modern world there is nothing standard about standards. At launch, Google’s RCS only works on Sprint, to other sprint customers using Google’s Messenger app, that’s not a recipe for success.
With the Global carriers preferring customer lock-in over interoperability it seems doubtful that Google will ever reach their vision of a global RCS based interoperable messaging standard. With everyone trying to monetise anything their users do could it be that we’re doomed to never have a single messaging standard, be it SMS or IM based.