Google Tries Shaming Apple Into Adopting RCS With #getthemessage Campaign

Google is kicking off a new publicity campaign today to pressure Apple into adopting RCS, the cross-platform messaging protocol that’s meant to be a successor to the aging SMS and MMS standards. The search giant has a new “Get The Message” website that lays out a familiar set of arguments for why Apple should support the standard, revolving around smoother messaging between iPhone and Android devices. Naturally, there’s also a #GetTheMessage hashtag to really get those viral juices flowing.

For most people, the problems Google describes are most familiar in the form of the green bubbles that signify messages to Android users in Apple’s Messages app. While the iPhone app uses Apple’s own iMessage service to send texts between iPhones (complete with modern features like encryption, support for group chats, and high-quality image and video transfers), they revert to old-fashioned SMS and MMS when texting an Android user. Not only are these messages shown in a color-clashing green bubble but also they break many of the modern messaging features people have come to rely on.

“iMessage should not benefit from bullying. Texting should bring us together, and the solution exists. Let’s fix this as one industry. https://t.co/18k8RNGQw4— Android (@Android) January 8, 2022

To fix this, Google has been dropping a series of not-so-subtle hints in recent months for Apple to support RCS, which offers most (though not all) of the features of iMessage in a protocol that’s usable across both iOS and Android. The company said it hoped “every mobile operating system… upgrades to RCS” onstage at its annual developer conference this year as well as in various tweets over the months.

The iPhone maker has everything to gain from the current situation, which has a lock-in effect for customers. It provides seamless communication (but only between iMessage users) and turns Android’s green bubbles into subtle class markers. It’s why Apple execs admitted in internal emails that bringing iMessage to Android would “hurt [Apple] more than help us.

Google’s arguments for RCS haven’t been helped by the standard’s sluggish and piecemeal rollout, which was initially reliant on carriers to add support. But the situation has improved since Google effectively took charge in 2019, meaning that RCS is now easily available almost everywhere worldwide. This year even saw the world’s largest Android manufacturer, Samsung, switch to using Google’s own RCS-compatible Messages app by default in its flagship Galaxy S22 range.

RCS has also slowly been gaining feature parity with iMessage’s encryption. It now supports end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in one-on-one chats, and E2EE in group chats is due later this year.

So, will Google’s new publicity campaign finally be the thing that pushes Apple to see the light and roll out RCS support on its phones? Given the huge incentives Apple has for not playing ball, I have to say the search giant’s chances don’t look good. At this point, Apple adopting RCS feels about as likely as the US collectively ditching iMessage and moving to an encrypted cross-platform messaging service like WhatsApp or Signal.

Source: Google tries shaming Apple into adopting RCS with #getthemessage campaign – The Verge

Critics by Derrek Lee

Google’s new “Get the Message” campaign consists of a page on the company’s Android website listing all the reasons why Apple should “fix texting” by supporting RCS in iMessage. It points out how Apple’s reliance on outdated SMS and MMS when texting non-Apple devices leads to a series of problems, not only for Android phones but iPhone users as well.

This includes low-quality media, group chat incompatibilities, the inability to send messages over Wi-Fi, and the lack of read receipts, typing indicators, and end-to-end encryption. Google even goes so far as to say that Apple’s green bubbles are hard to read. Google points to several articles and examples on social media expressing frustration over Apple’s lack of support.

It’s definitely a story we’ve all heard before and likely one we’ll continue to hear for some time: messaging between Android and iOS is a bit of a mess. And as much as we would all like to imagine a world where iMessage came to Android, that will never happen, so we have to settle for RCS coming to iMessage. But even that seems unlikely, and this isn’t the first time Google has publicly called out Apple.

Google has tried to mitigate the messy texting situation with RCS, which sports many of the features iMessage users are used to. The company even introduced a way to translate reaction emojis across platforms, so Android users no longer receive a “Nick liked an image” message. Google has also been rolling out new Google Photos integration to send videos without any of the expected quality loss.

And Google is also working on expanding its end-to-end encryption to support group chats in Google Messages. However, Google’s efforts are pretty one-sided, at least until Apple adopts RCS in iMessage. It also doesn’t help that Google’s messaging around messaging has been confusing, to say the least. However, there are signs that the company is now trying to clean up its act by shedding its superfluous messaging apps.

That said, Apple seems pretty content with not supporting RCS and has remained mostly silent on the matter. Court documents revealed that company executives saw iMessage as a big way to lock customers into the platform, so extending any additional support for Android was essentially a no-go.

So, while it seems unlikely that Apple will bring RCS support any time soon, at least no one can say it’s due to a lack of effort on Google’s part. Meanwhile, you can head over to the “Get the Message” website to share Google’s message on your Twitter account, complete with the #GetTheMessage hashtag.

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Google’s new publicity campaign tries to pressurize Apple into adopting RCS SamMobile

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