After Google deployed RCS (Rich Communication Services) in the U.S. without the help of the four three big carriers, the company seems to be set to repeat that effort internationally. People in multiple, mostly European countries report that they're able to use RCS features in the Messages app. That might indicate that we'll soon see RCS functionality in even more parts of the world.
As you might have noticed recently, we love Telegram. Whether it's cool features that you may not have seen or helpful gestures and shortcuts, this service has plenty to offer. Today, Telegram rolled out a substantial update that not only adds new features but changes existing ones too. If you've always wanted to have a video as your profile photo, send a file larger than 1.5GB, or take tighter control over who can message you, then this update has some goodies in store for you.
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If you have a dual SIM phone, you already know the tremendous convenience the experience can provide. But for all the benefits, there are still apps out there that don't really recognize the dual SIM use case, like WhatsApp. Traditionally, using two WhatsApp accounts on a single smartphone wasn't really possible, but many phones now include built-in features like app cloning or work profiles that allow you to keep two instances of a single app on your device. Even if your phone doesn't have such an option, we've got other ways to work around this annoying limitation in our guide. Read on for more.
Microsoft has been offering a free, restricted version of Microsoft Teams since 2018, but it never really felt like a tool you'd use to organize your family or personal events — it was mainly targeted at freelancers and small teams. After a year worth of work and an announcement during its big Microsoft 365 reveal, the Redmond company is now ready to unleash a preview version of Microsoft Teams on consumers. As soon as it's rolled out, anyone can sign up for it, but you'll only be able to take full advantage of the service when you're a Microsoft 365 subscriber.
Google Messages has become the app to watch now that new leadership has been tasked with cleaning up some of sprawl created by projects of the past. A new dogfood build of the app made it into circulation, and it contains signs for some important features people have been looking forward to. For those with a desire to keep their messages private, Messages will soon support end-to-end encryption over RCS. And if you're a Google Fi user, get ready to see some huge improvements to the Messages for Web service that will bring browser-based access to calls and voicemail.
Google's messaging strategy continues to perplex us all, but perhaps there's some light at the end of the tunnel? Everyone working on communication tools at Google was recently brought into a single unified team, which will hopefully lead to more consolidated efforts in the future (we can but hope). And another step on the road to finally doing away with the old Hangouts has been announced. G Suite users are now able to see their classic Hangouts conversations in Google Chat so everything is in one place.
Google's strategy around messaging and communication applications is in a constant state of flux, an issue that has only been made worse by the isolated teams working on Duo, Hangouts Chat/Meet, and other products. While the numerous messaging applications might not be going away anytime soon, the teams behind them are finally operating under one roof.
We've already explored free and open-source alternatives to many Google apps and services in this series, but there's one critical category we haven't mentioned yet: messaging services. Keeping in touch with friends and family is what most people use phones for, but as with social media, the vast majority of messaging platforms are black boxes with questionable data practices.
Microsoft Teams is the company's version of Slack or Hangouts Meet: a room-based messaging platform intended for use by large organizations. It has grown rapidly since its introduction in 2017, and now Microsoft wants regular folks to use it, too.