During Google’s annual developer’s presentation, a Google executive publicly urged Apple to adopt the Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging standard. The crowd at the event seemed to agree with Google’s call-out. By adopting RCS, Android, and iPhone users would no longer face blurry or compressed media issues when texting each other.
Additionally, it would solve the problem of iPhone users receiving messages that spell out an emoji reaction instead of simply displaying the corresponding emoji. Google’s push for RCS adoption is not new and is seen as an attempt to pressure Apple to address the issue.
Google exec Sameer Samat at the company’s IO event said, “When you’re texting in a group chat, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether everyone is using the same type of phone,” said Google exec Sameer Samat at the company’s IO event, prompting some laughs and cheers from the audience.” He added, “Sending high-quality images and video, getting typing notifications, and end-to-end encryption should all just work,” he added.
The Apple adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS) would resolve several issues that have been frustrating for Android and iPhone users when texting each other. The most notable issue is the quality of videos and photos, which are often compressed or blurry when shared between different operating systems. This problem has been long-standing and is something that both Apple and Google have been attempting to resolve.
The push for Apple to adopt the RCS messaging standard
Another problem is how iPhone users’ emoji reactions to a message are conveyed to Android users. For example, if an iPhone user sends a message saying “Sam loved ‘See you soon'” and adds a heart emoji to the message, an Android user receiving the message would see the heart emoji as a separate message rather than an emoticon added to the original message. This can make the conversation appear disjointed and confusing for Android users.
Last August, Google launched its #GetTheMessage campaign to pressure Apple to adopt the Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging standard. The goal was to improve the texting experience between Android and iPhones since they currently use the SMS messaging standard. According to Hiroshi Lockheimer, the head of Android at Google, over 800 million people currently use the RCS standard, with expectations that the number will reach 1 billion by the end of the year.
The RCS messaging standard was introduced as a potential replacement for SMS messaging in 2008. Unlike SMS, which operates over a carrier’s network, RCS operates over the Internet. This allows for better support for multimedia features over messaging, such as sending high-resolution videos and GIFs, and makes group messaging easier. Google hopes that Apple will adopt the RCS messaging standard so that users of both Android and iPhones can enjoy a more seamless and enjoyable messaging experience.
Google takes jabs at Apple after calling for the adoption of RCS messaging standard
According to Sanaz Ahari, who is in charge of Android and business communications at Google, the company believes that every Android user should be able to use messaging services over Wi-Fi. Ahari stated this in an interview with The Verge and mentioned that Apple and Android have “a lot of conversations” about this issue. It’s clear that Google is keen to improve the messaging experience for Android users and is hoping to work with Apple to find a solution that benefits everyone.
When contacted by Insider before publication, Apple didn’t comment on Google’s remarks about adopting RCS messaging. Similarly, Google did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. However, since launching its campaign, Google has taken other jabs at Apple, including a post commemorating the 30th anniversary of SMS texting, which called out iPhones for being “stuck in the 1990s,” and a New Year billboard ad calling on Apple to fix “pixelated” photos and videos in text messages.
Despite the complaints from Android users, Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that he doesn’t receive much feedback from iPhone users about fixing texting issues between iPhones and Androids. At a conference last year, Cook suggested that users should “buy your mom an iPhone” when asked about difficulties sending and receiving videos between an iPhone and an Android phone.
Apple’s messaging platform is one of its selling points, and the “blue bubbles” in group chats compared to the green Android bubbles help convince some users to switch to an iPhone and keep them locked into the Apple ecosystem. Furthermore, legal documents from a lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games in 2021 showed that the tech giant lacks the incentive to adopt RCS messaging.