Google boosts RCS with surprise Jibe Mobile buy

News

Google has given an unexpected boost to Rich Communication Services (RCS) technology with the acquisition of Jibe Mobile.

The IP messaging service was developed by the GSMA and marketed as joyn. It has been seen as a means for operators to compete with popular OTT messaging services such as WhatsApp, by offering features beyond traditional SMS.

However, while RCS tech offers the likes of group chats and photo sharing, it has broadly failed to catch on.

Last month, O2 Germany launched a RCS-based Wi-Fi calling app, which offers the likes of video calling, instant messaging and file transfer.

Jibe is IP communications services messaging provider, which has worked with Deutsche Telekom, Slovak Telecom and SFR.

Google has its own OTT-style messaging service already in the form of Hangouts. The app allows consumers to share content, integrate SMS with chatting software and make voice over IP calls. However, the app is not widely distributed, with many Android smartphones offering their own messaging app. Google also has a separate app for SMS and MMS, Messenger.

Mike Dodd, Android RCS Software Engineer and Minister of Messaging, said: "Many leaders in the wireless industry have already put great work into laying the foundation for RCS, and we’ve heard from many of them that there are ways Android can help.

"We’re excited to team up with mobile operators, device makers and the rest of the Android ecosystem to support RCS standards and help accelerate their deployment in a more consistent way. We’re already working closely with many of our partners on implementing RCS, and look forward to growing the RCS ecosystem together."

Details of the Jibe acquisition were not revealed but Dodd said the company's team would join Google to help make RCS more widespread.