The headlines at Mobile World Congress (MWC) earlier this year were dominated by new handsets, connected cars and 5G, so it’s not surprising that advances in Rich Communications Services (RCS) flew underneath the radar.

RCS is seen as a successor to SMS and supports rich media content, hot buttons and other features. It has strong support from mobile industry body the GSMA, which showcased the technology in its Innovation City at MWC.

SMS has barely developed since its inception, with MMS the only significant upgrade, so it’s not surprising the telecoms industry has yearned for something more as over the top (OTT) applications like WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger have gained in popularity and functionality.

But what is surprising is that Google, not the mobile operators, that’s spearheading development.

Google Chat

In an interview with The Verge last week, the man entrusted with leading Google’s efforts Anil Sabharwal

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