Google has made its Rich Communication Services services standard available globally for Android users.
This standard upgrades SMS messaging to bring it up to speed with other messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
RCS makes it possible to send better quality photos and videos, chat over Wi-Fi or data, know when your message is read, share reactions, and enjoy more dynamic and engaging group chats.
Google had been testing this feature in certain countries but now the global rollout means that South Africans can enjoy this improved user experience as well.
In addition to improved interface and capabilities, the big win with RCS is improved security. Google is finally stepping up to the plate in this regard as they are beginning end-to-end encryption, starting with one-on-one RCS conversations between people using Messages.
This means third parties and even Google can't read your messages in these contexts.
This is still in beta testing but will be available automatically once Google have approved its effectiveness.
How to access these new features
To get access to the RCS update, simply update your Messages app to the latest version. If you don't have it downloaded, you can get it through the Google Play Store and turn on chat features.