Google has joined a host of telecom operators and GSMA to improve the Short Message Services (SMS) in Android smartphones. The partnership intends to accelerate the use of Rich Communications Services (RCS), a platform for messaging providing beyond voice and text across android devices. The move will lead to standardization of an open, consistent messaging service across smartphones.
The RCS standard is a significant upgrade over the traditional SMS service. It offers attractive features like an exchange of photos and videos, group chats, the progress of response from the user on another end etc. Basically, it groups several features seen in Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger etc.
For standardizing the use of RCS, Google will provide its messaging technology and the operators will agree upon a common universal profile based on GSMA’s RCS specifications. Google will also provide an open source version of the client based on the universal profile specification and will provide developer APIs.
“This is an incredibly positive development for the industry. Google’s contributions will provide operators a new opportunity for a rich, consistent implementation across Android devices and offer a real step change in messaging experiences for consumers worldwide,” commented Alex Sinclair, GSMA CTO.
“Today marks an important step forward in bringing a better messaging experience for Android users everywhere, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with our partners across the industry to make this happen,” added Nick Fox, Google’s VP of communications products.
The new partnership is looking upon as a move to catch up to the over-the-top internet messaging services (OTT services), which won over the traditional SMS. Due to the wide acceptance of OTT services among the mass, operators have suffered a decline in their revenue from messaging services.
The operators can bill the RCS messaging through subscriptions or charging per message basis. The operators supporting the partnership at this stage are America Movil, Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Orange, Sprint, Telenor Group, TIM, VimpelCom and Vodafone.
Besides the Android OS, other operating systems can also adopt to the RCS format and will be supported by GSMA’s accreditation process. The operators have two options – either to deploy their own infrastructure or use Google’s Jibe platform that supports the universal RCS profile.