Google has begun signing up businesses to participate in an early access program to send RCS messages to customers, the company detailed in a blog post Thursday.
A small number of companies in food, travel, retail, and delivery services in the US and Mexico are using RCS to upgrade traditional SMS messages with branding, rich media, interactivity, and analytics. RCS messaging aims to provide a better experience than SMS text messages sent from four digit phone numbers by businesses.
Read: Google's RCS could finally solve Android's iMessage envy (CNET)
In the US, Google is working with Sprint to send RCS messages for 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel, Subway, and others. It has also enlisted messaging partners 3C, CM.com, Mobivity, OpenMarket, Smooch and Twilio.
Google said customers who have already opted-in to receiving a business' text messages will see the upgraded experience automatically in Android Messages.
In 2016, Sprint became the first US carrier to launch RCS-based SMS with Google to provide an iMessage rival on Android. Google said Thursday more than 40 carriers and device manufacturers now use its RCS platform through the Android Messaging app.
Google is promising to bring RCS messaging to more businesses in the coming months. It sounds like we'll hear more details at MWC.