Google Messages users in India have reported receiving a flood of unwanted ads using Rich Communication Services (RCS) in recent weeks, and it appears that Google has adopted a response strategy: turn them all off. A Google spokesperson told 360 gadgets that the company “is aware that some companies are abusing our anti-spam policy to send promotional messages to users in India”, and that it would “disable this feature in India as we work with industry to improve the experience for users.” .”
The ads in question were delivered through RCS’s corporate messaging feature, which allows verified companies to send messages to customers that go beyond typical text, with graphics and interactive features. Google is pitching it as a way for brands to interact with established customers – messages you might want on your phone. But people using RCS in India have experienced it very differently. They have regularly seen messages from companies pushing credit cards and gambling apps, among other things.
Until now, people reported that the only way to avoid the ad attack was to disable RCS altogether – not an ideal experience. Google’s move to disable business messaging is a better short-term alternative, but it’s clearly not a long-term solution. At the time of writing, Google has not yet responded to our inquiry as to what it is doing to curb the spam problem. In 2019, Sanaz Ahari, product management director of Android Messages, told us that the company’s vision for RCS was “a great, simple user experience that just works for any Android user.” RCS has come a long way since then, but there is clearly still work to be done.