Google is following through with a long-term commitment to change the way messaging is handled on its Android platform. The company has wanted to replace traditional SMS message with Rich Communications Services (RCS) for some time. Now it has started to roll out that change, but only in the United Kingdom and France.

RCS provides a messaging experience closer to the WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger model, with a flowing conversation. Google has failed to compete with messaging rivals with its Hangouts service and may see creating a robust messaging tool in-built on every Android device as a good way to rival WhatsApp.

In a report by The Verge, Google says it is providing RCS to users in the UK and France starting later this month. Clearly these nations have been chosen as test locations for the implementation.

Google has managed to breakthrough from previous restrictions to offer the service. Previously, the company was partnering with mobile network carriers to deliver RCS messages. However, progress was too slow, so Google decided to go direct and offer the technology from its own servers.

Modern Messaging

Like I mentioned, the company sees Rich Communication Services as a way to in-build a messaging service into Android. However, Google is avoiding forcing users into the experience. It says RCS is opt-in and available through Google Messages. In other words, if you still like the SMS system, you can continue to use it.

I guess most people will want to embrace RCS because it provides many modern messaging perks. For example, RCS brings read receipts, media sharing, and typing suggestions. However, Google’s service will lack the end-to-end encryption that WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage boast.

The obvious question left is when RCS will be released in other countries? Google is remaining quiet on that front, not offering a timeframe for a wider launch.