Following reports of rampant spam by some firms, Google has banned businesses from using RCS for promotion in India, the company’s largest market by users, in a setback for the standard that the company is hoping to help become the future of SMS messaging.
According to TechCrunch, RCS stands for Rich Communication Services, and it is the result of a collaboration between a number of industry players to enhance traditional SMS with modern features like richer texts and end-to-end encryption.
In recent years, Google, Samsung, and a number of other companies, including telecom operators, have rolled out RCS support to hundreds of millions of users around the world.
Last month, Google announced that RCS messaging in the Android Messages app had surpassed 500 million monthly active users. At its developer conference, the company urged “every mobile operating system” (a subtle dig at Apple) to support RCS, which is also aimed at helping businesses reach out to users in a more interactive way.
The problem, however, is that a number of Indian businesses, including top banks and other lending institutions, have been abusing the feature to send unsolicited promotional materials to any phone number they can find across the country, as reported by TechCrunch.
Earlier, a number of users took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction, and it appears that their messages have reached Google.
“Some businesses are abusing our anti-spam policies to send promotional messages to users in India,” Google said in a statement. As a result, Google has disabled the feature while it “works with the industry to improve the user experience for users.”