We’ve seen a continual stream of updates and feature tweaks to Google Messages for close to 12 months now. The RCS feature being one of the biggest and makes it something of — not directly, yet — a competitor to Apple’s iMessage platform. Now with the confirmation that further rumoured features are now official, it’s getting better and better.

When Android 11 Beta landed, users saw new and tweaked features including:

  • Reactions to messages
  • Video calling integrration
  • Attaching recent (5 mins old or less) photos

All pointing to a far more unified — finally — communications solution from Google.

A quick test this morning showed that the reactions feature is live in Australia. To trigger this, you simply need to long-press the message you want to send a reaction or acknowledgement to and make your choice.

We’ve seen smart replies in text for some time, with RCS that’s taken a step further adding stickers to the chat. Much like other messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram, this can add a giggle to your chats while reducing time to get your message across.

Other features mentioned in the latest blog include photo editing, voice messaging which is as simple as press and hold the microphone icon and that the integration of Google Duo is now complete. A really solid improvement to a good platform, now if only all phones and carriers supported RCS in Australia….

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    This app isn’t fully functional on my LG G7 smartphone. The chat feature function isn’t available. Surely the app designer can make it work on my handset.

    Quentin Wright

    According to Google Assistant less than half the mobile phone users in Australia are on Telstra. Google rolled RCS out in quite a few countries some time ago (It used to work in Australia via a hack but Google put a stop that!). It’s obvious keeping Australian customers happy doesn’t matter to them. We are just a source of revenue so I’ll look at other better supported tech ecosystems wherever possible from now on.


    Is there any other way to enable RCS? My Google messages is just stuck on ‘trying to verify number’ I’ve done everything possible bit just doesn’t seem to work


    Anyone want a pizza roll?


    It’s Only ALL Seppo Garbage anyhow.
    Mostly about That Wunnafull Don Dump. So for The Rest of The SANE World. Who Cares.


    I’m done reading how Google is getting rcs out for users. It’s been more than a year since I’ve been hearing about this and no matter how many features, it does not seem like it’s a universal feature as promised. Increasingly it’s kind of a niche feature for telstra. Haven’t been able to enable rcs on optus

    Colin Jones

    If you’re interested, this link documents the basket case that is RCS worldwide! Essentially, carriers were supposed to implement it (they’ve been working on it since 2007) but every one implements it differently (to a different version number of the standard), only support selected devices, and often (like Telstra) don’t make any attempt to interconnect with other carriers. That’s when Google stepped in, and are now implementing a universal and global service, that will be consistent, up to date, work on any Android device v6.0 or later (as its Play Services) and will eventually provide a carrier override option to… Read more »

    Jimmy C

    Be fantastic if Australians actually have RCS messaging to start with regardless of network provider, Google is really shooting themselves in the foot be dragging this out.


    The only thing that keeps me from using it is the ability to schedule message. I know I can get another app to do that, but why when I can use a different SMS app. Add scheduling and I’d be all over it.


    Totally agree. I’m the same.


    what is the venn diagram overlap between people thick enough to sign up to telstra (sorry!) and savvy enough to need additional chat functionality

    Colin Jones

    Although you didn’t actually reply directly to my comment, mine is the only mention of Telstra, so I take it you are just hopelessly passive aggressive as well as plain rude. But it also exposes a lack of critical thinking. Perhaps Telstra is their corporate plan, so they have no option over carrier, or perhaps they have specific black spot issues or wanted the earliest access to 5G (none of these are my reasons), or perhaps they have a dozen or more Google Assistant enabled devices around the house, and wanted Voice Activated Calling (as well as Duo), which in… Read more »


    Still can’t pin conversations.


    What’s the phone that was used to take screenshots?

    Colin Jones

    Am I missing something here? I’ve got RCS and have had it for a long time, well before Google started rolling out servers to support it, because the app supported it and Telstra turned it on. But it still doesn’t work for any of my Android contacts who are not on Telstra.

    I thought the whole point of Google’s “take over” was to circumvent recalcitrant telcos? Shouldn’t the app automatically switch over to Google’s service for non Telstra customers??