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Samsung’s Galaxy S22 phones push Google Messages and the good news of RCS

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Now we need Apple on board

Samsung’s messaging app is still available, but Google’s is the default.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

A lot more people might be about to start using Rich Communication Services (RCS), the new messaging standard that has had a long and messy rollout, as Google’s Messages app is the new messaging default for newer Samsung devices. While the Galaxy S21 lineup shipped with Samsung Messages by default last year in the US, 9to5Google noticed its Galaxy S22 Plus review unit had Google Messages set as the default when set up from scratch, and that’s the case with The Verge’s Galaxy S22 Ultra review unit as well.

Samsung confirmed that Google’s app is the new default in a statement to The Verge. “To create the best possible messaging experience for users — with a richer, more engaging communication experience that is consistent across platforms — Samsung is now making Messages the default messaging app for Galaxy S22 series users worldwide, giving them even better capabilities,” spokesperson Jordan Guthmann said.

RCS offers many improvements over SMS texting, such as typing indicators, read receipts, and the ability to share higher resolution photos and larger files, but adoption in the US has taken years. Google has largely led the charge and even rolled out end-to-end encryption to its messaging app in June. But the big carriers have dragged their feet — while they agreed to replace SMS with RCS in 2019, we had to wait until 2021 for T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon to commit to making Google Messages the default messaging app for their Android phones.

Samsung phones make up a significant amount of the Android phones sold in the US, so the switch to Google Messages should be a boon for RCS adoption. Now we just need Apple to get on the RCS train, which Google would like, too.

Update February 14th, 4:03PM ET: Added Samsung statement.