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Google Messages RCS: How to get it on your Android smartphone in India

Here is how you can enable the next generation SMS experience, Google Messages RCS on your Android smartphone.

Google Messages RCS in India, How to instructions

Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol has long been hailed as the next generation of the aging SMS protocol. Telecom industry promoters have long been working on developing the guidelines along with all the necessary back-end for a rollout. However, its been 12 years since the work actually started. As noted in the past, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea announced a partnership with Google to bring RCS to India earlier in the year. The software giant has long been working on implementing it in its Google Messages app for RCS messaging. In addition, Reliance Jio already implemented RCS in its JioCall app (previously known as Jio4Gvoice).

As noted in a previous report, the GSM Association finalized a universal profile for RCS back in 2016. Regardless, we have not seen much progress in the roll-out in markets across the globe. A number of reports online have also attributed this to the slow pace of the telecom industry. However, it looks like the slow roll-out may be a thing of past in the near feature. As noted in our last report, a Reddit user just figured out a way to enable RCS on any Android smartphone.

The trick likely follows the June announcement where Google revealed that it was working on an opt-in RCS service. It seems like the company has been testing the feature in the beta version of its “Messages” app. We went ahead and followed the instructions to get RCS working on our Android devices in India. The activation process works well with occasional hiccups on Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea. During our testing period, we went through almost everything that Google Messages RCS messaging can do. In the meantime, here is how you can enable RCS on your Android smartphone.

Watch: How to enable Google Messages RCS on any Android smartphone

Getting things ready

Make sure that you are using the Google Messages app to manage your SMS duties. It is likely that you may be using a different SMS app that comes with your smartphone OS. For instance, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Huawei, Honor, and other devices come with their own SMS apps. You also need to ensure that you are running the latest beta version of Google Messages. The third thing that you will need is “Activity Launcher” app from the Google Play Store.

The entire process is likely to take 7-8 minutes but may get pushed to 12-15 minutes in case of any problem. You also need to ensure is that all your SIM cards (in case of dual SIM smartphones) need to have enough balance to send an SMS message to your mobile operator. It is advisable to turn off your Wi-Fi while following the steps to activate Google Messages RCS. There may be additional requirements but we are not sure about those at the time of writing.

Google Messages RCS: How to enable RCS on your Android smartphone

Step 1: First up, head to Google Play Store to ensure that it is running the latest beta version.Install latest Google Messages Beta

Step 2: Open the Activity Launcher app and tap on the drop-down menu with label “Recent activities” to select “All activities”. The app will take a few seconds to create a list of all the activities running on the smartphone. Here, scroll down to find the Messages activity and tap on it.Open Activity Launcher app

Step 3: Tapping on the Messages activity will present a number of sub-activities. Here, scroll down to find the “Set RCS Flags” sub-activity and tap it. This will open the “Set RCS Flags” section in the Google Messages app. This section is usually hidden in the actual app.Opening RCS Flags section

Step 4: Here, tap on the “ACS Url” field and select the “http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com” option. On the same screen, tap on the “OTP Pattern” and select “Your\sMessenger\sverification\scode\sis\sG-(\d{6}).” Once you have selected both the options, dismiss your keyboard and tap on the “Apply” button.Making changes for RCS messaging

Step 5: Now, force close the Messages app using one of the many available methods. Regardless of the Android version, you will find the option to force close in the App info section. You can access this by long-pressing the “Messages” app icon to invoke the context menu. You can also navigate to this screen in the “Apps” sub-menu in the “Apps” section in the “Settings” app.Force close and check for changes

Step 6: Re-open the Messages app and you should get the “New! See when friends are typing” with the button “Upgrade Now” at the bottom of the screen. Tapping on the button will send you to a new screen with the title “Do more with Messages”. Here you need to tap the “Next” button for the device to send an OTP request to your telecom operator. The verification will take place and RCS Chat features will be enabled. You can also verify by going to “Chat features” section in the “General settings” sub-section in the “Settings” section for Google Messages.Upgrading to RCS

Step 7: It is also possible that the OTP verification may not work. In this case, the “Messages” app will showcase the exclamation mark on the top right-hand side. Tapping this will allow users to trigger the OTP verification mechanism again. In case it fails, force close the app and try again. Once everything is set, the “Chat features” section will showcase status as “Connected”. Now you have access to the upcoming SMS and possibly WhatsApp replacement.Likely hiccups

  • Published Date: October 29, 2019 12:32 PM IST