• Digital Care

What are Google’s Business Messages and Google RCS Business Messaging?

by Josh Snider, Senior Product Marketing Manager | Jun 25, 2020

Google has two very powerful channels with very similar names, Google’s Business Messages and Google RCS Business Messaging. This is a guide to help brands learn the different technologies that power each channel, their unique use cases, and the value they offer customers.

Names, acronyms — Alphabet soup!

Google prefers everyone refer to the new channels by full names, and with good reason. Using acronyms or making up your own permutations is a surefire recipe for confusion.

Plus, neither channel should be confused with Google My Business — the free tool for small businesses to promote their Business Profile, manage reviews, and respond to customer messages.

What’s the difference between Business Messages and RCS Business Messaging?

Consumer initiated

Google’s Business Messages is a channel that lives on Android devices and any device with Google Maps installed. It enables consumers to easily discover brands in Google Maps or Search and start rich messaging conversations. Like conversations in popular messaging apps WhatsApp and WeChat, Business Messages conversations are delivered by a user’s internet connection (OTT or “Over The Top” protocol) and not the typical SMS or MMS telecom carrier protocol. Think of Google’s Business Messages as the Android and Google Maps version of Apple Messages for Business, which is Apple’s new channel for more convenient and rich customer engagement.

Brand initiated

Google RCS Business Messaging is a wholesale upgrade to the default text messaging channel on Android devices. The RCS stands for Rich Communication Service, which is an effort across the mobile industry to establish a new global standard of communication protocol to replace SMS/MMS. In order for the RCS upgrade to enable rich content and multimedia capabilities, telecom carriers have to upgrade their infrastructures to support it. This carrier transition is already underway, and RCS Business Messaging is available for Android devices on networks that support the format.

Your brand’s guide to both channels

Google’s Business Messages

Google RCS Business Messaging


Android users and iOS users (with Google Maps installed)

Currently: some Android devices on compatible networks

Future: all Android devices on all networks

Entry points

  • Google Search
  • Google Maps
  • Third-party “click to message” links
  • Brand-initiated push notifications, alerts, and campaigns
  • Protocol

    Internet (OTT)

    Mobile Carrier (RCS)

    Who initiates?

    Customer initiated

    Customer can reply to conversation and re-engage at later date

    Brand initiated

    Customer can reply to conversation and re-engage at later date

    Use cases

    Customer care

    • Answer inbound questions
    • Deliver support

    Customer care

    • Send outbound messages for account updates, service alerts, order status notifications, etc.


    • Execute promotional campaigns with outbound messages 

    Rich features

    • Branded profile
    • Image, video, GIF
    • Rich cards and carousels
    • Interactive content
    • Suggested replies
    • Suggested actions
  • Branded profile
  • Image, video, GIF
  • Rich cards and carousels
  • Interactive content
  • Suggested replies
  • Suggested actions
  • Benefits

    • Call reduction
    • Brand discovery
    • Richer care experiences
    • Proactive care alerts
    • Higher converting campaigns
    • Customer lifecycle management

    Get started with Google’s Business Messages

    Khoros Care combines Google’s Business Messages with channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Apple Messages for Business in a single, easy-to-use platform with industry-leading analytics and workforce management tools.

    Make it easier for your customers to get in touch, have rich conversations that drive higher satisfaction, and reduce call volume and operational costs. Learn more.

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