After Jibe Cellular Purchase, Google To Present Carriers With Android RCS Shopper
Right here at Cellular World Congress 2016, the annual Barcelona-based mostly flesh-urgent of the telco business, Google and a bunch of carriers have put out a press launch speaking up how they’re apparently ‘aligning’ to attempt to drive adoption of RCS.
Aka the Wealthy Communications Providers interoperable messaging normal that carriers have been making an attempt to push for years.
Carriers’ goal with RCS (previously referred to as Joyn) was to attempt to evolve SMS with a brand new normal that baked in richer options, reminiscent of on the spot messaging, group chats, file sharing and so forth; i.e. the kinds of options now routinely present in over-the-prime messaging apps like Whatsapp and Fb Messenger. So actually that ship has sailed, and the latter apps are persevering with to tug customers away from SMS, diminishing the previous service money-cow even additional.
As an alternative of a brand new money-cow carriers have solely a lame duck various in RCS. And but they’re nonetheless hoping it will possibly flip right into a golden goose — therefore in the present day’s trumpeting…
By aligning on a common RCS profile, cellular operators will be capable of deploy a constant RCS implementation, function set, and configuration. The Android RCS shopper offered by Google might be based mostly on the common profile, enabling shoppers to entry RCS providers on their units. Options comparable to group chat, excessive-res photograph sharing, learn receipts, and extra, will now develop into a part of the operator messaging expertise, enhancing the expertise of over four billion SMS customers worldwide. GSMA RCS superior calling options may also be supported sooner or later by Google.
The profile and shopper will allow a constant and interoperable messaging expertise between all Android units and throughout all operators worldwide, in addition to ease interoperability testing between networks and considerably scale back time to market. The common profile could be carried out by different working techniques and might be supported by a proper GSMA accreditation course of. Google will even present an open supply model of the shopper based mostly on the common profile specification and can present developer APIs to reinforce the RCS shopper expertise.
Factor is, carriers have been making an attempt and failing to get RCS to fly for years, however obtained slowed down in making an attempt to agree requirements for all the varied options. And when OTT messaging platform Whatsapp, which is definitely a couple of years youthful than the RCS business initiative, can boast of getting one billion lively customers it’s clear who’s stolen the messaging momentum — and it’s not the carriers. Apple has additionally managed to ship a extensively adopted SMS various (iMessage) which, whereas not good, could be very usable and properly used.
In the meantime the carriers at the moment are solely speaking about constructing “a path” to at least one billion customers for RCS (and a goal of 4 billion+ SMS customers). But, as others have famous, they’re not breaking out any precise lively consumer stats for RCS.
One billion can also be an admission of failure if the unique ambition was to construct the subsequent gen of SMS…
GSMA now speaking a “path to 1 billion customers” for RCS. Given there’s c1.8bn Androids, c900m iOS & four-5bn SMS customers = no ambition for ubiquity
— Dean Bubley (@disruptivedean) February 22, 2016
At the moment’s RCS announcement is clearly aimed toward giving the impression of some uplift. In any case it’s MWC16 and carriers need to have the ability to dream of golden gooses at their annual Mediterranean confab.
“Operators have agreed to transition towards a standard, common profile based mostly on the GSMA’s RCS specs and an Android RCS shopper offered by Google in collaboration with operators and OEMs,” the GSMA service affiliation writes within the launch, which lists 19 carriers by identify (and the GSMA) but lacks a number of the huge names (e.g. no AT&T and no Verizon, the father or mother of TechCrunch’s mum or dad AOL).
In a press release, Google’s Nick Fox, VP of communications merchandise at Google, stated: “In the present day marks an essential step ahead in bringing a greater messaging expertise for Android customers in all places, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with our companions throughout the business to make this occur.”
Why has Google been persuaded to lend its model gloss to the carriers’ lame duck? We will however speculate that maybe it needed to maintain the GSMA pleased so it might sanction one other Android-branded playground touchdown in the midst of MWC, as has been unveiled as we speak — full with a free smoothie bar and Android pin badges that delegates can struggle over, as per the final time Google’s Android branding took over MWC again in 2011…
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) February 21, 2016
Extra significantly, Google agreeing to offer an Android RCS shopper does comply with on from it buying RCS specialist Jibe Cellular again in September, when it stated it will undertake the RCS commonplace.
“SMS service messaging is utilized by billions of individuals every single day and allows individuals to succeed in anybody around the globe, no matter their gadget, service, app or location. The options out there in SMS haven’t stored up with trendy messaging apps. Wealthy Communications Providers (RCS) is a brand new commonplace for service messaging and brings most of the options that folks now anticipate from cellular messaging, resembling group chats, excessive res pictures and extra,” stated Google on the time of shopping for Jibe.
Additionally on the time of the Jibe acquisition, telecoms analyst Dean Bubley recommended Mountain View’s transfer was truly aimed at constructing its personal Android-to-Android iMessage competitor — a principle he’s nonetheless not ruling out, so maybe Google nonetheless has some hopes on that entrance.
Albeit, Bubley couches Google’s newest RCS pronouncement as “very lukewarm”, noting it has not specified the shopper might be on all Android units, for instance, even when what’s clearly service-written PR talks about reaching “all Android units” — which might encompasses an terrible lot of hardware today, from telephones to sensible TVs, to smartwatches and extra. (We’ve requested Google for some readability right here and can replace this submit with any response).
There’s additionally no clear timeframe on when Google shall be delivering the RCS shopper. And with out ubiquity it’s going to imply fragmentation retains RCS-powered messaging apps from constructing the searched for mass messaging momentum by way of the platform.
So these SMS “billions” Google appeared to be eyeing up final fall, with its Jibe acquisition freshly closed, aren’t maybe wanting so reachable to it now by way of the RCS route.
Nonetheless, it’s attainable Google thinks it’s nonetheless value a punt on the tech to supply an iMessage various — if just for a sub-set of Android handsets.
The PR additionally notes that operators rolling out RCS can deploy their very own infrastructure or have “the choice to make use of the Jibe Platform from Google”, which it notes helps the common RCS profile.
“The Jibe Platform features a hosted cloud for particular person operators to launch RCS providers for all main cellular working techniques and the Jibe Hub to interconnect operator RCS networks,” the discharge provides.
So Google at the least will get the prospect to cosy up to some of these listed carriers — and perhaps any ensuing relationships might be helpful to it for a few of its different initiatives, like Challenge Loon. In any case, Google is definitely rebranded Alphabet these days — and it has a enterprise unit for nearly each letter of the alphabet. And you may assure that each one its companies reap the rewards of accelerating connectivity.
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 22, 2016