Google recently announced significant enhancements to its messaging platform, showcasing its commitment to the RCS format and expanding its capabilities to compete with established messaging apps. With a reported billion users already on board, Google’s update adds seven new features to its messaging app, positioning it as a formidable rival to traditional messengers like WhatsApp and Telegram.
RCS: A New Standard in Messaging
The RCS (Rich Communication Services) standard is positioned as a successor to SMS and MMS, touted by Google as an “improvement” rather than a replacement for outdated formats. This move expands the functionalities of the Google Messages application, positioning it as a robust alternative to Apple iMessage and other popular instant messengers. RCS supports various features including text indicators, read notifications, message threading, high-quality media file exchanges, encrypted group chats, and more.
New Functions Unveiled
Among the seven new functions introduced, the ‘Photoji’ feature stands out, enabling users to transform images into reactions using AI algorithms directly on their devices. These processed images can be stored and reused in a special tab on the phone and shared in group chats, enhancing communication.
The ‘Voice Moods’ feature allows users to add emoticons to voice messages, conveying emotions effectively. Google also improved voice message quality by enhancing bitrate and sampling frequency. ‘Screen Effects’ offer colorful animated displays for specific messages, adding vibrancy to conversations. Users can expect 15 such effects, adding an element of surprise to messaging.
The ‘Custom Bubbles’ feature allows personalization of message bubbles, permitting users to choose colors and backgrounds for each chat. ‘Reaction Effects’ offer animated overlays for popular emoticons, adding life to conversations. Additionally, ‘Animated Emoji’ bring visual effects to certain emoticons, similar to features in WhatsApp and Telegram.
Profile Enhancement and Availability
Google Messages will now feature profiles allowing users to set names and images accompanying phone numbers, solving the issue of receiving messages from unknown numbers. However, these functions are currently limited to the beta version of the app, with no specified release order or timeline for all features to be available.