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RCS support for Verizon Google Pixel 3 rolling out now (Updated)

The SMS successor can support high-quality image and video file transfers, message typing indicators, message read receipts, and more.

Published onDecember 6, 2018

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Update, December 6 at 3:40 p.m. ET: It looks like RCS support is now rolling out to the Verizon Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Verizon published a support page detailing all the new RCS features, and it looks like some folks on Reddit are gaining access to the features already.

Original article, December 5 at 5:09 a.m. ET: Verizon is gearing up to roll out Rich Communication Services (RCS) support for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL tomorrow, the company has confirmed. In a statement to The Verge yesterday, Verizon said the new text messaging standard would arrive in Google’s Messages app on the Pixels.

RCS, or Chat as the Google-backed Android version is known, is an upgraded version of SMS. It supports lengthier messages, higher-quality image and video file transfers, message typing indicators, message read receipts, large group chats, and more.

It’s been in the works for years and is now supported by more than 55 carriers, though others are still working towards meeting its Universal Profile.

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A recent Reddit post regarding Verizon Pixel Chat support, supposedly based on information from a Verizon store, also suggested it would roll out with “additional features such as local [location?] sharing, mobile payment, sending audio recordings, sending stickers, and much more.” However, this wasn’t confirmed in Verizon’s statement.

Chat is good news for those who don’t use apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, or Facebook Messenger, which have for years had many of the advantages RCS is set to deliver. However, there is a major caveat right now in that the features will work only between two RCS-supported devices.

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Further, and perhaps this is an even greater caveat, RCS lacks end-to-end encryption. It’s certainly going to be a deal-breaker for some people.

RCS is only just getting underway but it’s already late to the messaging party and ostensibly outmatched by superior online chat apps (though it too can be used over Wi-Fi). Those lacking constant internet access may see better mileage.

Verizon has previously pledged to roll out Chat to its devices in early 2019. It will probably trickle out to other smartphones over the coming weeks and months.

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