Google Messages will send alarm text messages via RCS


Google Messages

Google Messages, a widely used messaging app on Android devices, is set to introduce a feature that will give users more communication options in emergencies. The tech giant has announced that it will enable users to send text messages to 911 using Rich Communication Services (RCS). This will facilitate contact with emergency personnel when calls cannot be made. RCS emergency texting is developed in collaboration with emergency technology company RapidSOS and will be rolled out to emergency call centres in the United States starting this winter.

RCS emergency texting

The Need for RCS in Emergency Situations

In certain emergencies, calling the police may not be the most practical or safe option. Sending text messages can provide a more discreet and efficient means of communication. Google’s integration of RCS into Google Messages aims to address this need by providing a reliable and feature-rich platform for emergency communication.

Key Features of RCS in Emergency Situations

The use of RCS to send alarm text messages offers several advantages:

1. Confirmation of Delivery and Response

One of the primary benefits of RCS is that it allows users to confirm that their emergency requests have been delivered and to see if emergency responders are responding to their messages. This real-time feedback ensures that users are aware of the status of their emergency requests and can adjust their actions accordingly.

2. High-Resolution Media Sharing

RCS enables users to send high-resolution images and videos to emergency responders, providing them with a clearer picture of the situation. This can be particularly useful in situations where visual information is crucial for responders to understand the nature and severity of the emergency.

3. Precise Location Sharing

The integration of RCS with the Android Emergency Location Service allows users to share their precise location and other relevant information with emergency responders. This ensures that responders can quickly locate the user and provide timely assistance.

Implementation and Rollout

The rollout of this feature will begin in areas that currently do not support sending text messages to 911. This phased rollout will ensure that the technology is thoroughly tested and refined before being expanded to a wider audience.

Google Messages Profiles - RCS

What is RCS?

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a messaging protocol designed to replace SMS (Short Message Service) with a more advanced and feature-rich communication system. The history of RCS dates back to 2007 when the Rich Communication Suite industry initiative was formed by a group of industry promoters. In 2008, the GSM Association (GSMA) officially became the project home of RCS and established an RCS steering committee to define the standard.

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The RCS protocol seeks to enhance the functionality of SMS, allowing for multimedia messaging, group chats, and better branding. It was initially marketed under various names, including Advanced Messaging, chat features, joyn, SMSoIP, Message+, and SMS+. The GSMA published the Universal Profile in November 2016. This defined a single specification for advanced communications that ensured interoperability between carriers.

Google’s role in RCS development

Google played a significant role in popularizing RCS. In 2015, Google acquired Jibe Mobile, a cloud start-up working on RCS. After the acquisition, the company began integrating RCS into its Android Messages app. This move helped to drive the adoption of RCS, particularly among Android users. Google also launched RCS on an opt-in basis via the Messages app, with service compliant with the Universal Profile and hosted by Google if the carrier did not provide RCS.

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Google’s implementation of RCS includes end-to-end encryption for all chats using the Google Messages app. This feature is not part of the original RCS specification but is a key differentiator for Google’s RCS implementation. The company’s efforts have led to widespread adoption of RCS, with over 800 million active RCS users on Google’s platform. According to Juniper Research, there are also 1.2 billion handsets worldwide supporting RCS by 2023.

RCS is marketed as a more advanced and secure messaging system compared to SMS. It allows for multimedia messaging, group chats, and better branding, making it a more comprehensive communication platform. The ability to send longer messages and support end-to-end encryption are significant advantages over traditional SMS. RCS is also designed to be a carrier protocol. It allows users to contact others directly using just their phone number. They will not need to install an app or sign up for an account.

Google Messages

Google’s involvement in RCS has been instrumental in driving its adoption. Google’s work has also been instrumental in making it a viable alternative to SMS and other messaging apps. The company’s commitment to end-to-end encryption and its efforts to integrate RCS into its messaging app has helped to establish RCS as a more secure and feature-rich communication platform.

Conclusion

Google Messages’ integration of RCS for sending alarm text messages to 911 marks a step forward in emergency communication technology. By providing users with a reliable and feature-rich platform for emergency communication, Google aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response systems. The use of RCS offers several key advantages. This includes confirmation of delivery and response, high-resolution media sharing, and precise location sharing.

The rollout of this feature will begin in areas that currently do not support sending text messages to 911. This will ensure thorough testing and refinement before wider expansion. This integration also highlights the potential of RCS to enhance traditional messaging. Furthermore, it provides a more comprehensive and secure communication platform. As this technology becomes more widespread, it is likely to have a profound impact on the delivery and receipt of emergency services. What do you think about this feature from Google? Do you think it will help in times of emergency? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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