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Google announecs RCS messaging update

Google has announced plans to update messaging on Android phones.

The tech giant is set to launch a major update to its Messages app in the US which will include several features already familiar to iPhone users through the iMessages service.

Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging marks one of the biggest steps forward Google has taken with its phones, and it will introduce things like exiting group chats and read receipts.

RCS is intended as a replacement for SMS - Short Message Service - which, while a mainstay, is more than 25 years old.

The update will include a whole host of new features, such as chatting of Wi-Fi, sending and receiving hi-res photos and videos, typing indicators, read receipts, group chat names, and the ability to add and remove people from the group conversations.

Sanaz Ahari - director of product management for Google's communications services - admitted the update was long overdue, and it was about time the Android system introduced "the features users expect from modern messaging".

According to CNET, she said: "These are table stakes features. It's a very important step in the right direction."

However, end-to-end encryption - which secures messages so they can only be read by the sender and receiver - won't be introduced, despite being standard for iMessage and WhatsApp.

Ahari insisted there are "technical complexities" with what she described as a "fairly complicated topic".

She said Google doesn't read messages, nor does it use them for ad-targeting.

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