In recent weeks, Google Messages customers in India have complained about getting a barrage of unwelcome ads via Rich Communication Services (RCS). And Google has responded by turning them completely off.
Google has blocked the RCS ads in India, according to company spokesman Kaori Miyake. She says, “We’re aware that certain companies are misusing our anti-spam measures to send promotional messages to Indian users. We are turning off this function in India while we work with the industry to improve the user experience.”
The ads in question were sent to clients using RCS’ business messaging function. These ads allowed verified firms to send messages to customers that include graphics and interactive elements in addition to text. It’s marketed by Google as a means for businesses to engage with existing consumers – communications you might want on your phone.
However, RCS users in India have had a quite different experience. They’ve received several messages from companies promoting credit cards and gambling applications, among other things.
People previously reported that the only way to dodge the deluge of advertising was to turn off RCS entirely – a less than ideal experience. In the near term, Google’s decision to disable corporate texting is a better option. But it’s definitely not a long-term solution.
Sanaz Ahari, the director of product management for Android Messages, spoke to The Verge in 2019 about the company’s ambition for RCS. She told The Verge that it was “a great, simple user experience that just works for every Android user.”
RCS has progressed significantly since then, but there is still more work to be done.