Google Exec invites Apple to adopt RCS


OnePlus 8 photo with focus on messaging icon

Will Android and iPhone users ever share a messaging platform?
Photography: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Again, people are talking about how Apple won’t play well with Android devices. This time, Google’s senior vice president Hiroshi Lockheimer, who oversees Android, takes on Apple’s task of fighting green bubbles and encourages the company to adopt a new standard for text messaging that will facilitate multi-platform communication.

Lockheimer tweeted on Saturday that Apple’s garden was surrounded by a wall around iMessage’s “documented strategy,” adding that the company used peer pressure and harassment to sell its products despite its marketing focusing on “humanity and fairness.”

Lockheimer specifically called for Apple to support Rich Communication Services, or RCS, but decide not to. The messaging standard has effectively unified all Android devices on a single messaging platform after years of crusades. Three major U.S. carriers support RCS. It is available by default through the Google Messages app, which is standard on all Android devices — just as Apple Messages is standard on all Apple devices. Actually, last hold to standardize RCS on mobile platforms is Apple.

Today Lockheimer denied it that his tweets were a critique of Apple’s refusal to transfer iMessage to Android. Instead, it wants Apple to support RCS in iMessage, just as the company supports older SMS / MMS standards. He even offered to help Apple implement RCS, doubling a request made late last year.

Lockheimer insists Apple’s adoption of the RCS would also help more people connect.

“Phone-based messages are a substitute,” Lockheimer tweeted. “If you want to reach someone and you don’t know if they use the xy or z app, you have great confidence that texting (SMS) will work for them.” This is a standard that has long been supported by mobile devices, and Lockheimer suggests that “probably the reason why Apple initially supported SMS.”

Lockheimer is right. Supports RCS bi improve the experience for iOS and Android users. Speaking as a long-time Android user, that means I could encrypted conversations with my loved ones who use iPhones without the need to use a third-party app, and I was finally able to receive videos as intended and from my friends who use Apple.

But Google is also to blame disorganized a strategy of messaging over the years, which he has not yet understood and reduced. Google currently has several messaging services, including Google Messages, Google Chat / Hangouts (depending on whether you turned the switch or not) and Google Voice. There’s also a messaging and chat feature built into other Google apps, including Google Photos and Google Maps Business Messages, allowing you to chat with restaurant and store owners.

Lockheimer was on the money for one thing: phone numbers are a universal way to find out if someone is on a messaging platform. Applications like Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp serve as second and third order messaging platforms for the same people I communicate with via text messaging. And when Google Messages is unable to perform a task — such as a large video file or end-to-end encryption — due to platform differences, my loved ones and I use one of the above backups by default.

I have no hope that Apple will adopt RCS, because the company is a little encouraging for – its own customers don’t mind being locked up, as embarrassing as it could be for their Android friends.

It would be better for Google to create a universal messaging solution that unites them all – third and first parties – which makes it easier for its users to switch conversations back and forth. We’ve already heard that some of these universal uses come in the Chrome OS phone app later this year. Google could make Android better by simplifying its own messaging apps and giving one-click access to each option so Apple’s decisions don’t matter.


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