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Google Messages Celebrates One Billion RCS Users with New Expressive Features

Google is commemorating a significant achievement in its endeavor to establish RCS messaging as the global standard, surpassing one billion active users on Google Messages with RCS enabled. Over the past decade, Google has been fervently promoting RCS, a protocol that facilitates advanced features like high-quality media exchange and end-to-end encryption within the native SMS/MMS apps on Android devices. RCS seamlessly integrates with traditional SMS/MMS standards when an internet connection is unavailable.

New Google Messages’ Features

Diverging from the outdated SMS and MMS protocols, RCS positions itself similarly to Apple’s iMessage. While Apple utilizes its proprietary protocol, rendering iMessage incompatible with RCS and Android devices, there’s a recent development as Apple announced plans to incorporate RCS support for iPhones in the coming year—a move that Google has warmly embraced.

In celebration of achieving one billion RCS-enabled users, Google is introducing seven new features to the Google Messages app, the default messaging platform on many Android devices, particularly those launched by Samsung post-2020. These features aim to enhance the conversational experience and allow users to express their personalities more vividly.

The new features include Photomoji, which transforms photos into expressive reactions, and reaction effects that animate traditional reactions like the thumbs-up sign. Google Messages will also animate emojis sent within a chat. Screen effects have been introduced to animate the entire screen in response to specific phrases, such as “I love you.”

Users can now customize the color of message bubbles and the background for each conversation, in addition to personalizing their profile name and picture associated with their phone number using the Profiles feature. For voice messaging, Google introduced Voice Moods, enabling users to send voice messages accompanied by an emoji that visually expresses the sender’s emotions. Improved audio quality for voice messages is also part of the update, thanks to an increased bitrate and sampling rate.

These features are currently available to Google Messages users enrolled in the app’s beta version. While Google has not specified the global release date for the non-beta app, users keen on trying out the new features immediately can sign up as beta testers through a provided link.

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