Google exec calls on Apple to adopt better, more secure text messaging

Google exec calls on Apple to adopt better, more secure text messaging

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Google calls on Apple to adopt RCS for better messaging
But it probably won't happen.
Photo: Apple

Google executive Hiroshi Lockheimer has called on Apple to adopt the Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol that would enable improved and more secure messaging between iPhone and Android devices.

RCS brings a number of modern features — including support for audio messages, group chats, typing indicators and read receipts — and end-to-end encryption to traditional text messaging. But it’s unlikely Apple will play ball.

The benefits of RCS

The RCS protocol brings text messaging into the modern era. In many ways, it’s a lot like iMessage, except it works on devices not made by Apple. RCS allows proper group chats, and it works over Wi-Fi — not just cellular connections.

The protocol also allows users to send audio messages and higher quality photos and videos. And, just like iMessage and other modern chat platforms, RCS supports typing indicators and read receipts.

What’s really great about RCS is that it’s an open protocol, which means anyone can use it. But while the technology has seen wide support from Android smartphone manufacturers, Apple has been reluctant to bring it to iPhone.

Lockheimer, senior vice president for Android, has encouraged the company to change its mind.

‘An open invitation’

In response to a tweet about how group chats are incompatible between iPhone and Android devices, Lockheimer said, “group chats don’t need to break this way. There exists a Really Clear Solution.”

“Here’s an open invitation to the folks who can make this right: we are here to help.” Lockheimer doesn’t mention Apple specifically, but it’s clear that the “folks” he is referring to are those in Cupertino, who have been against RCS.

Sadly, Lockheimer’s invitation will likely be ignored. Apple has shown no interest in RCS to date — and that’s no surprise. Why would the company be interested in improving communications between iPhone and Android?

Apple would instead prefer to keep iMessage exclusive to its own devices and push that instead. If you don’t like the fact that Android devices can’t participate in group chats with iPhone, buy an iPhone.