It also promises Google Assistant integration and better conversation search functions.

Google has announced that as of 14 November it is rolling out the service in the US. It’s a big deal as Google is going ahead with it without the apparent help of mobile network operators, positioning Messages as an over the top (OTT) app like WhatsApp or Viber.

Keep updating your Messages app in the Play Store and see if you see the changes. In theory it makes group chats a much better experience.

But Google explaining the move using terms like RCS in a corporate blog are a far cry from the ubiquity and simplicity Apple has forged with iMessage. It’s just the blue bubble crew, and in the US, that is a lot more alluring and easy to understand.

Google’s continued push with RCS comes after the four major US operators Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile announced their Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI), a similar idea to unify the texting experience.  Its unclear how, or if, the two will peacefully coexist well.