Following initial testing, more people are seeing the change now
Google Messages remains its parent company’s weapon of choice to take digs at Apple for refusing to play nicely with the RCS messaging standard. RCS chats include a bunch of handy features like read receipts and end-to-end encryption which place them up at the same level as the best instant messaging utilities like Signal and WhatsApp. Some features like the checkmark-style delivery and read indicators were only available in beta until recently, but appear to be rolling out more widely now.
In October 2022, Google started beta testing a replacement for the spelled-out Sent, Delivered, and Read delivery indicators in the Messages app. The iconography based replacements are check marks in circles, where a single indicator appears for sent messages, two indicators appear side-by-side for delivered ones, and the checkmarks appear filled when the text gets read. These checkmarks seem to be arriving for a whole lot more beta testers recently in the Messages app. We are currently seeing them on at least two phones enrolled in the beta that didn’t have the feature when testing began.
Old reading indicator (left); new reading indicator (right)
A wider rollout of the new message delivery indicators would be a pleasant visual change, bringing the Google Messages app one step closer to feature parity with rival services. However, we don’t think the tweaks we’re seeing in the app here imply anything for the RCS standard itself.
RCS on Google Messages may not yet feel like the mainstream replacement for instant messaging apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram, but it is poised to get there, eventually. Despite Google’s attempts to highlight the advantages of RCS at CES, Apple shows no signs of backing down from its position of incompatibility. If you’re running one of the latest beta builds of Google Message, open an RCS-enabled chat and check if you’re seeing the new checkmark-style delivery indicators.