It's time for Google's messaging strategy to be reversed annually! The latest news comes to us through The Verge, which has a great feature on Google Messaging Strategy 2019: returning RCS from carriers. Now Google wants to launch RCS service (upgrading to the aging SMS system), with the service first launched in France and the UK later this month. RCS will be something like Google's ninth intrusion platform after Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Buzz, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Spaces, Allo, and Hangouts chat.
Last year's messaging on Google saw the company killing Google Allo (AKA Google Messaging Platform 201
In the plan of last year (and any other plan involving RCS), the deployment was with the carriers. Each individual Earth operator had to go individually and upgrade its SMS infrastructure to support RCS and Universal Profile, a unified system that allows RCS users, for example, Verizon, to talk to RCS users of T -Mobile. With a little monetary incentive to do so, carriers were extremely slow in upgrading. And even when the carrier is with RCS, carriers certify RCS by telephone over the phone.
Google's new plan is to get Google to launch a new RCS service for users instead of leaving it to carriers. In the Google Messaging app, which is delivered to some (not all but not Samsung) Android devices, Google will offer its own RCS-based messaging service, which users can join. Again, Google says it will first offer its RCS service in the UK and France sometime this month. But Google initially committed a lot to RCS in 2015 when it purchased Jibe Mobile, a company that provides back-end RCS service to carriers. Now, instead of waiting for carriers to adopt its latest RCS service, Google will only report this directly to users. Original Equipment Manufacturers are pleased and this new RCS system is still built with the best interests of the carrier. Google's goal here is not to replace or compete with the carrier's RCS service, just to fill the gaps while carriers do not start working with their own version of RCS. When (or if) a carrier builds its own RCS system, Google claims to hand over RCS to this carrier. Google Messages should work with the Google RCS provided or provided by the RCS operator.
There are several reasons why you do not want to run an RCS-based service and sounds like Google's call to use RCS means the new service will have many of the same shortcomings that killed Google Allo. First, while RCS messages are encrypted in transit, they are not encrypted from end to end, which means your RCS provider (Google or your operator) can read your messages. Since RCS is a GSMA standard built to replace SMS, end-to-end encryption is simply not in the specification. This puts the system at a disadvantage in terms of privacy compared to most other popular services such as iMessage and WhatsApp on Facebook. Google is against encrypted default messages in Allo, but for RCS Google is not responsible for the specification.
In response to the encryption problem, a Google spokesman told The Verge: "We believe communication, especially messaging, is very personal, and users have the right to privacy for their communications, and we are fully committed to finding a solution for our users. "This statement does not promise that Google will offer end-to-end encryption, although it offers only some degree of" privacy ". Again, it seems that RCS would not support end-to-end encryption – something like that should be offered as a customized RCS standard for two users of the same client, similar to the way iMessage works. And, as far as data retention is concerned, Google told The Verge it would not keep your messages after they were delivered.
Like Alo, this new system will again take the reverse approach of using a phone number identification system. Assuming it works as Allo and existing SMS messages in Google Messages, it means you can only connect to the service with your smartphone and not with other devices. There will be no real desktop app for Google RCS, only people who want to keep an open tab in the browser can only offer a QR code website. The average American adult has something like four connected devices, but in the world of RCS on Google, only one of them (your smartphone) is worthy of receiving messages.
The smartphone-only requirement will be a significant regression from Google Hangouts, which uses cloud identity (your Google Account) to allow you to access any device with an Internet connection. Hangouts has apps for Android phones, tablets, iOS tablets, a permanent Chrome app that works on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS, Hangouts.google.com, Gmail.com integration, and even apps for smart watches. iMessage works this way by offering customers for every form factor Apple. Phone number-based applications are not even close to how a modern messaging system should work.
In addition to all Allo's old problems, the Google-managed RCS system virtually eliminates the purpose of RCS. RCS alone is a pretty basic messaging system, but its (theoretical) call comes from the fact that carriers are doing it. The implementation of RCS replacement of existing SMS systems means that RCS will be the default, widespread messaging system that will work on every phone – again, that was the whole point to build SMS to start. The operator support system would lead to wide, automatic acceptance by many users even if they did not know it.
Google's RCS system will be on the phone in addition to to the SMB Operator property. It will be on the phone as another option, leaving the only real advantage of RCS (the default carrier) of the equation. The Google Messages SMS app that this system uses is not currently available on the most popular Android phones – Samsung phones. RCS is also not an option for the iPhone, and it's unclear whether Apple ever wants to add support for iMessage to its platform.
For now, the service will only start in the UK and France. Google has not yet given a timeline on when the service will begin to be offered globally.