Why Google really, really wants Apple to add RCS to iMessage

Why Google really, really wants Apple to add RCS to iMessage

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iMessage bullying
Google wants iPhone to adopt RCS and end the differences between blue bubbles and green bubbles.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Google’s campaign to talk Apple into supporting Rich Communication Services in iMessage continues. The Android-maker introduced a new website Tuesday that claims that because iPhone does not support RCS it lacks “modern texting standards” and causes unnecessary problems.

Apple has long resisted RCS, choosing instead to reserve the best benefits of its messaging software to iPhone users.

No RCS in iMessage: Blue bubbles vs. green bubbles

If an iPhone receives a text from another Apple user, it shows up in a blue bubble. But texts from Android users show up green. And many of the features of iMessage don’t work with green bubbles.

Cross-platform texting can lead to “blurry videos, broken group chats, missing read receipts and typing indicators, no texting over Wi-Fi, and more,” according to Google.

The Android-maker created the Get The Message website to put pressure on Apple. It complains that iPhones turn messages from Androids into SMS and MMS messages, which it calls “out-of-date technologies from the 90s and 00s.”

Google wants Apple to move to Rich Communication Services, which it says would bring “high-resolution photo and video sharing, read receipts, emoji reactions, better security and privacy with end-to-end encryption and more” to Android users exchanging texts with iPhones. Apple users already have these benefits as long as they’re exchanging texts with other iPhone users.

iPhone support for RCS is really about Google vs. Apple

Apple has resisted adding RCS support for the same reason Google desires it: competition between the two companies.

Google wants better cross-platform messaging not out of the goodness of its heart but because it would likely increase the number of people switching from iOS to Google’s Android OS. Obviously, that’s not in Apple’s best interest.

A whopping 88% of U.S. teens own an iPhone and are accustomed to the full benefits of blue bubbles. There’s peer pressure to not use Android as this can cause problems for everyone in group chats.

And it’s not just teens. The CEO of a popular startup says that entrepreneurs seeking funding from venture capitalists are less likely to get it with texts that appear in green bubbles.

If Apple adds RCS support to its software, the cross-platform differences would go away, along with one of the reasons to choose iPhone.