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A few days ago, Google posted a video on how RCS bridged the messaging gap between iOS and Android. But, Apple doesn’t need RCS, or at least the half-baked version that it is today.
Google’s “unofficial lyrics explanation” video shows that “Texts Go Green” refers to the phenomenon when an iPhone user is blocked, or trying to send a text message to an Android user. A sarcastic message at the end of the video indicates that it’s a problem that Apple can solve by certifying Rich Communication Services (RCS).
Green bubbles have always been a part of the Apple community. Within the default Messages app, blue chat bubbles mean an iPhone to iPhone conversation. When an iPhone user sends a text message to an Android user, the chat bubbles become green.
It has become a meme over the years, and Google claimed in January 2022 that Apple is using these different colors to bully Android users.
These green chats are SMS and there is a real social impact because SMS does not support the rich iMessage features. Some of them, such as reactions to messages, are broken if an Android user participates in a group chat with an iPhone user.
An iPhone user can long press a chat to give it a heart, thumbs up, or a different reaction. An Android user sees a text version of the emoji instead of a graphic representation: “[User] lovable [text message]. “
Google introduced support for these features in 2021, but still claims that green bubbles can be resolved with RCS.
Rich communication services
RCS is a messaging protocol designed to be a successor to the older SMS and MMS protocols. It supports iMessage-like features in all text messages.
It was formed in 2007 and brought to the GSM Association where it was slowly revised. Features have been added over the years, such as group chat, file transfer, visual voicemail, and even chat bots in 2017.
In 2018, Google announced that it was working with major carriers to adopt RCS. Verizon launched support starting in 2022, while other carriers supported it earlier.
Reading receipts, group messages, encryption, labels, and more are all features that iPhone users enjoy. RCS will bring these features to Android phones and is just waiting for Apple.
But rolling out the RCS was messy. Not all carriers and devices support the protocol and it can be implemented in different ways, such as encryption.
Unlike iMessage, end-to-end encryption is not included with RCS. Carriers and companies can add such encryption if they choose. Google added support for this encryption in 2020 but only for one-to-one conversations.
Like SMS, RCS relies on an active phone number. Text messages are tied to your cell phone bill and can disappear if you miss a payment or are scammed by another cell network.
In iMessage, chats can be sent from a phone number or email address associated with an Apple ID. A SIM card is not required for conversations with other Apple users.
Google offers RCS connectivity in the Android Messages app as a default. No matter how many messaging apps Google goes through, Android users can get these rich features as long as Google supports RCS.
The tech giant is known for product abandonment. Dozens of hardware, software, and services have fallen by the wayside over the years. RCS cannot rely on Google if the goal is to replace SMS.
Apple doesn’t need RCS
People using iPhones won’t stop texting their Android friends just because a green bubble pops up. The iMessage stigma is only available in the United States. Internationally, the alternatives have a much higher adoption rate.
If a shared experience with features that everyone can enjoy is desired, third-party apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp are there to bridge the gap.
These apps support rich features that both ecosystems can have because they use the same app. These apps use neither iMessage nor SMS, which makes them universal. Only an internet connection is required.
Apple may not have created iMessage as a way to lock down iOS initially, but the platform has definitely grown that way. It is a powerful social network, which Apple can upgrade without waiting for industry associations and carriers.
Apple has shown no interest in releasing the iMessage app for Android either. In the past, it has been revealed that Apple executives have said that an Android version is possible, but that it “will hurt us more than it helps us”.
Encryption and other improved features are a plus of RCS over SMS, but for now, it seems like the only way Apple will support it is if SMS disappears entirely.
RCS does nothing for iPhone owners that it can’t actually fix. The protocol would have had a better chance of replacing SMS if implementation began in 2007 around the release of the iPhone.
At the moment, RCS is just an alternative and not yet a standard. Although approved some . vector some companies, it’s too little and too late unless Google makes major changes and improvements.