AT&T RCS now default for Android with Messages by Google

The North American mobile carrier AT&T revealed this week that they're working with Google to make Messages by Google the default messaging app for all AT&T Android devices in the USA. This should, hopefully, make the transition to an industry-wide adoption of Rich Communication Services (RCS) a reality at some point in the future. This is not the first time RCS has been available for AT&T users, but it is the first time AT&T's agreed to make RCS for Android a reality with Google's own Messages app – by default.

RCS on Android devices with Messages by Google will allow AT&T users to get an as-advanced-as-possible experience while using an open standard available to the masses. There are apps that can be used to attain similar chat features, but that's not what this is about. This about moving the baseline experience up to a higher standard of excellence.

YES, IT'S TRUE: RCS Standard now global: What that means for you

Users will be able to text one another and know when someone is replying to a text – as they're typing. Users will be able to send and receive messages with WiFi and/or data. Users will be able to share full-resolution photos and "higher-quality video" through Messenger.

And what might be most important – especially to those people looking to use Messenger to chat with family members and friends – group chats are simple. People can add a person to a group chat and that person can choose to leave a group chat "without starting a brand new thread," so says Google.

Messenger will soon have end-to-end encryption, as well. That'll require that both people in the chat are using Messages, and that both people have chat features enabled, and it'll only work for one-on-one RCS conversations. ALSO NOTE: Google previously worked with T-Mobile USA to make global RCS messaging a reality, too – it's on the way!

If you're already an AT&T user, your current messenger app, chat app, whatever you happen to use – that'll still work. This isn't a change that'll affect people that already have devices. You can go download the Messages by Google app now, if you wish. The big change is in future releases of Android devices with AT&T as a carrier. They will have Messages by Google as a default messaging application in the United States – we're expecting this will happen with devices released later this year, and on forward for the foreseeable future.