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  • Chris Bratton - Tech Journalist

Google halted RCS promotional advertisement in India

Rampant promotional RCS advertisement was being misused in India to spam users with advertisement. Many users shared how they are being spammed by some firms who are abusing Google RCS (Rich Communication Services).

India is Google's largest RCS promotional client. It is sorted via market by users. The biggest market by users rampant reports to the platform that users are being spammed in their native Android messaging application, which is quite frustrating.

Rich Communication Service (RCS) is a better carrier messaging for everyone. It changed the way communication is handled by default in Android. Today, we can share high-resolution photos and larger files, chat in a group, and make video calls within the same messaging app. Rich Communication Services (RCS) is usable everywhere, meaning mobile networks and other wireless connections can benefit from it without depending on a third-party application. GSMA has a universal RCS profile, which sets the Messages RCS client app as a default across the whole Android ecosystem.

More than half of smartphone users benefit from Android RCS messaging. Billions of people use the SMS service daily, and the RCS (Rich Communication Services) was provided to enhance that experience. According to data shared by Google in 2016, more than 58 carriers and manufacturers, covering approximately 4.7 billion people globally, came under the RCS implementation. Six years later, Android is still the most used operating system, along with RCS implementation with the default messaging application.

RCS today has the collective effort of several industry players as more advanced features got added to make the interaction seamless. Traditional SMS with end-to-end encryption and richer texts made RCS default messaging one of the most dependable native applications. But in India, the features were exploited till users got so frustrated that they started reporting directly to Google. A user shared a screenshot in a Tweet, directly mentioning Google with that. After countless reports, Google finally, in response, turned off the RCS messaging services in India.

Google, Samsung, Telcom providers and many other large players rolled out RCS support to hundreds of millions of users worldwide. RCS messaging in the Messages app has more than 500 million monthly active users. In a world where WhatsApp, Messager, iMessage, and emails are popular options, RCS-enabled messages are still phenomenal as it gets the job done. A recent controversy in India may haul support for RCS for quite some time as the Googles Android team will need time to implement changes necessary to stop spam forever.

Banks and other leading firms with tons of cash to burn, even if users are irritated, they are not hesitating to push advertisements in the default messaging application. A user tweeted, "Google Messages has become the worst possible Google app." After several user attempts, Google finally heard them and acknowledged the message. Google responded, "some businesses are abusing our anti-spam policies to send promotional messages to users in India." For this matter, Google is disabling the RCS-enabled messaging feature so that it may "improve the experience for users."

Last year, at the developer conference, Google said: "every mobile operating system" (a subtle jab at Apple) to support RCS as it is helping businesses interact more easily with users. It was a sustainable way to conduct business until large advertisers started levering the option to leverage their gain. The subtle jab at Apple turned into closing it down a few days later. One of the proudest features in one of the biggest geographic userbases is supposed to make headlines even if the company doesn't want to. Ultimately, it is not Google's fault as they gave control of such a future to utilise in a customer-friendly way. We are unsure if Google is bringing RCS support back or when they are bringing it back.


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