Google’s Android team today launched a new “Get the Message” website that again calls on Apple to adopt Rich Communication Services or RCS for the Messages app. Google has been pushing Apple to adopt RCS for months now, with no response from Apple.
RCS is designed to replace the current SMS messaging standard. It offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file sizes, improved encryption, emoji reactions, more reliable group chats, and more.
The “Get the Message” website is aimed at addressing the “green/blue bubbles” issue between iPhone and Android users along with problems in cross-platform messaging such as low quality photos and videos, issues with group chat, end-to-end encryption, read receipts, and typing indicators, pointing out that these issues could be addressed if Apple adopted RCS. “It’s time for Apple to fix texting,” reads the website.
It’s not about the color of the bubbles. It’s the tiny photos and videos, no texting over wifi and no read receipts. Apple creates these problems when we text each other from iPhones and Android phones, but does nothing to fix it.
The website says that iPhones downgrade photos and videos from Android users, prevent people from leaving group chats with Android users, stop iPhone users from texting Android phones over WiFi, make messages from Android users difficult to read, and leave messages between iOS and Android users unencrypted. The site encourages people to help Apple get the message through tweets, plus it highlights news articles about Android/iPhone communications.
Alongside the website, the Android team has also provided a blog post that explains the how Rich Communication Services works and why text conversations between iPhone and Android users sometimes experience issues. The blog post says that group chats “feel outdated” because iPhones are still using SMS and MMS for conversations.
iPhones still rely on SMS and MMS for conversations with Android users, which is why your group chats feel so outdated. Think of it like this: If you have two groups of people who use different spoken languages, they can communicate effectively in their respective languages to other people who speak their language, but they can’t talk to each other. And when they try to talk to one another, they have to act out what they’re saying, as though they’re playing charades. Now think of RCS as a magic translator that helps multiple groups speak fluently — but every group has to use the translator, and if one doesn’t, they’re each going to need to use motions again.
RCS could “connect all smartphone users” and bring a “secure, modern messaging experience” to everyone,” according to Google’s blog post. The article echos several prior Google attempts to get Apple to acknowledge RCS, all of which have been unsuccessful.
As of mid-2021, Google and all major carriers have swapped over to RCS, but Google has not been able to convince Apple to adopt the standard. Senior vice president of Android Hiroshi Lockheimer has been tweeting about RCS and Apple’s lack of support for months now, and Google has even resorted to sarcastic explainer videos.
There continues to be no word on when Apple might adopt Rich Communication Services, nor information on whether Apple is considering it.