back to article Google goes over the top with RCS

Google has run into a privacy furore with its acquisition last September of carrier messaging company Jibe. Jibe is a messaging platform based on the GSMA's Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard, which kicked off back in 2007 as the telco sector's answer to the looming threat of over-the-top (OTT) services. That threat …

  1. Mark 85

    I would expect some resistance to Jibe just because of Google's habit of tossing services in the wastebin if they're not a hit. It may take time to build a user base, but will Google give it that time?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      IT's not an end-user service

      It looks like gtalk (on steroids) for telcos.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see Google abandoning Hangouts for RCS, no matter how much trouble they had to get users to use it. They know the way the wind is blowing, and it's not the way of operator services.

    Then again, Google has been known to do stupid things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do Google have problems getting users to use hangouts? Most people I know use it, as WhatsApp is quite limited (and operated by Facebook, so a data mining whore way way worse than Google).

      I find hangouts merged messaging very good, and the voice and group video chat very reliable and decent quality, even on slow networks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My experience seems to be the opposite of yours. Perhaps it's a geographical thing?

        Personally I don't know a single person that uses Hangouts, the one time I sent a test message to a friend, they phoned me to ask what it was, why had this stage app they knew nothing about suddenly say "Hello, testing 1, 2 3"!

        Almost all my friends now exclusively use Facebook messenger, and generally won't answer to SMS texts.

        Personally, I only use SMS messages, and don't have anything FB apps installed on my phone (and being a Nexus device, it wasn't pre-installed either).

        My fiends grumble when it takes me 2-3 days to reply to a message, as that's the typical gap between me checking into the FB web site, which I only do on my PC, at home, when I can be bothered to look.

      2. Status_Quote11

        RCS Rollout to Android Good New???

        Well personally I feel this makes perfect sense and is a nice touch from the tech giant Google: as you say, hangouts had some nice features, hopefully Android will see similar benefits here.

  3. T. F. M. Reader

    "Google goes over the top with RCS"

    Pheeww.... My first thought was Revision Control System... No, calm down: just messaging with NSA/FBI/LEO support... All is well...

    1. DropBear

      Re: "Google goes over the top with RCS"

      Interesting - I associate "RCS" with Reaction Control System: attitude control thrusters on spacecraft. Might sound much more pleasant, until one remembers some of them work with hydrazine (I'm not a "space technician" though, just a fan...)

      1. Dan Wilkie

        Re: "Google goes over the top with RCS"

        Fellow Kerbal Player spotted

      2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: "Google goes over the top with RCS"

        I have a similar problem with SNR. Is it being used to mean Supernova Remnant or Signal to Noise Ratio.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Embrace... extend... extinguish...

    Goodbye telcos.

    The API integration will be used to "map this phone number onto this Internet service equivalent". Then you'll never use it again...

  5. phuzz Silver badge

    So, this new system is more open to spying, will cost more, and currently nobody uses it.

    Sounds like a winner.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Might be worth waiting to see what's actually available. A universal service that doesn't require an internet connection could certainly have its uses. Not least for emergency notifications: the SMS-C infrastructure is about as reliable as anything we've got.

      I'm sure we all have several different clients to talk to different people. For me it's Signal, Hangouts and Viber. I've had problems receiving SMS in England with Signal, sending SMS to US numbers (but still cheaper when you're in the States than any kind of data plan) which you need for the other services.

      As for the ability to tap into the service – well that's no different than what's already the case. Want something secure: don't use a public network.

  6. Boothy

    Where is the users carrot?

    Unless I'm reading it wrong, I don't see any mention of what benefit this offers the end users?

    It's a standard that only seems to run on one platform (Android).

    It will cost users money to use, i.e. the same model as SMS/MMS, so needs funding somehow.

    It doesn't seem to provide any tangible benefit over current SMS, which works everywhere on all phones, universally.

    It seems to be worse than existing messaging apps. as it removes a layer of privacy.

    1. MrWibble

      Re: Where is the users carrot?

      I think the article is badly worded... It seems that it's meant to be SMSv2 (hence working with carriers to implement) - so it doesn't matter whose handset you use, it'll work. If all carriers can support it, it'll be "richer" SMS (think MMS, but without the current complexity of configurations)

      That's assuming all carriers support it. Otherwise, we're back to asking what services / apps people have before trying to send stuff, then giving up...

  7. Cynical Observer

    What's in a name

    Jibe - an ​insulting ​remark that is ​intended to make someone ​look ​stupid:

    As the GSMA remarks here: "Mobile network operators are subject to a range of laws and licence conditions that require them to be capable of intercepting customer communications, to retain a range of subscriber and usage data and to disclose this data to law enforcement agencies on demand. While RCS allows lawful intercept at both the service data layer and session data layer, any interference with mobile users' right to privacy must be in accordance with the law."

    .... RCS is designed to bring SMS-style carrier charges to messaging. From the same GSMA document: "Termination of RCS traffic follows the same model as standard mobile voice and data services.

    Two reasons just there that don't stack up well against the existing competitive options/solutions that are available. Unless the fool convince a lot of people otherwise then it remains to be seen if this will take off or just fade into obscurity.

  8. Andrew Jones 2

    It might have been helpful if you had explained what Jibe actually does - Jibe existed before Google bought it and provided a quick and easy way for mobile operators to implement RCS support into their network without having to go to the hassle of implementing it all themselves. In short it took the delivery time from 6 months - 1 year down to around 6 weeks, and means the network operator doesn't have worry about keeping the software up-to-date. That is what the company Google acquired actually does. Google adding native RCS support to Android is wonderful news, but all the sly comments about Google dropping support when they get bored - miss what Jibe actually does and that regardless of what Google does - the GSMA will trudge along regardless.

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