Google has been pushing RCS (rich communication services) texting through the Android Messenger app since last year, and that effort is expanding in a big way today to include Europe and Asia. That’s through a partnership with the carrier Telenor, which announced today that it’s supporting the new messaging standard.
The next evolution of SMS
Telenor customers who live in markets where RCS support is launching will simply have to install an update to the Android Messenger application to take advantage of the service. RCS is a carrier-based standard that’s viewed by many as the next evolution of SMS, adding features like group chats, high-resolution photo sharing, and text messages longer than 160 characters — all things that the current SMS standard struggles with.
Per the Google’s blog post, RCS messaging will be available in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, and India; Google says that it hopes to expand to other countries soon. Similar to other implementations of RCS by Google, the Telenor integration is based on Google’s standard for RCS, called Jibe. It will theoretically work with some other RCS standards, though right now it’s incompatible with similar systems from T-Mobile and AT&T, so there’s still a ways to go.