AT&T will soon enable RCS messaging for all Android phones

Google Messages will be the default chat app for AT&T customers.

Chris Velazco/Engadget

AT&T is the latest carrier to make Messages by Google the default messaging service for all customers on Android devices. The move will replace the default messaging system, SMS, with Rich Communication Services technology, an open standard that prioritizes media, eliminates character limits, and generally upgrades the traditional texting experience.

RCS unlocks the ability to share full-resolution photos and send larger media files than SMS can handle, it streamlines group chats, enables end-to-end encryption for one-on-one conversations, and it works over Wi-Fi or data. The transition for AT&T customers will take place soon, according to Google.

Google has been nudging the mobile industry toward RCS for years, and it's finally catching on. T-Mobile is making the switch to Messages by Google, and therefore RCS messaging, by the end of the year, and now AT&T is doing the same.

However, Verizon hasn't announced plans to adopt RCS — and neither has Apple, for that matter.