You may have heard of RCS or Rich Communication Services before: it’s an update to the SMS protocol that Google is working to get more widely adopted, and it’s now live on any network for all Android users in the U.S.
The news has been confirmed on Twitter by Google Communications Suite Lead Sanaz Ahari, although you may need to update the Android and Carrier Services default Google Messages app to get the functionality on your phone.
In the UK and France, RCS is already working. As for the rest of the world, Ahari asked users to “stay tuned” as to when the software would continue to roll out. Google is ahead of schedule as far as US support is concerned.
If the person you are posting also has chat features allowed, the composer bar reads “Chat Message.” If the client has not disabled it or is unable to do so, the composer bar reads “Text Message.” If you are inaccessible with data or chat apps, your messages will still be sent as SMS or MMS. If there are no chat features for all participants in the group, you can still create an SMS / MMS party. Features like typing indicators will only function if the chat features are activated by all users.
It is possible to disable chat functionality as a whole at any time. Before removing your SIM card from your phone, they should certainly be disabled. Specific features like read receipts can also be disabled.