Saturday, September 30, 2023

Google tries to shame Apple into using RCS with #getthemessage campaign

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Google is launching a new publicity campaign today to pressure Apple to use RCS, the cross-platform messaging protocol intended to replace the outdated SMS and MMS standards.

The search giant has a new “Get The Message” website that contains a well-known set of arguments as to why Apple should support the standard, which revolves around smoother messaging between iPhone and Android devices. Of course, there’s also a #GetTheMessage hashtag to really get those viral juices flowing.

To most people, the problems Google describes are best known in the form of the green bubbles that indicate 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, group chat support, and high-quality image and video transfers), they’re reverting to old-fashioned SMS and MMS when texting to an Android user. Not only do these messages appear in a color-colliding green bubble, but they also break many of the modern messaging features that people have come to rely on.

To fix this, Google has over the past few months dropped a series of not-so-subtle hints for Apple to support RCS, which offers most (but not all) of iMessage’s features in a protocol usable by both iOS and Android. android. The company said it hopes that “every mobile operating system … upgrades to RCS” on the podium at its annual developer conference this year as well as in several 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. That’s why Apple execs admitted in internal emails that bringing iMessage to Android “would hurt” [Apple] more than helping us.”

Google’s arguments in favor of RCS have not been helped by the slow and patchy rollout of the standard, which initially relied on carriers to add support. But the situation has improved since Google actually took the lead in 2019, meaning RCS is now readily available almost anywhere in the world. This year, even the world’s largest Android manufacturer, Samsung, switched to using Google’s own RCS-compatible Messages app by default in its flagship Galaxy S22 series.

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

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

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