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Google says it doesn't want iMessage on Android. Here's what it wants.

Google wants the follow-up to SMS to be implemented in iMessage.
January 11, 2022
google messages chat features read receipts typing indicators rcs app google pixel 4 xl 2
  • A Google executive has expanded on a solution to iMessage’s poor handling of Android users.
  • Hiroshi Lockheimer says that Apple should implement RCS as a fallback option instead of SMS.

Google called out Apple over the weekend for benefitting from “peer pressure” and “bullying” over iMessage’s green bubble/blue bubble feature. Google and senior vice-president Hiroshi Lockheimer both noted at the time that a solution exists, and the executive has now elaborated on this.

“We’re not asking Apple to make iMessage available on Android. We’re asking Apple to support the industry standard for modern messaging (RCS) in iMessage, just as they support the older SMS/MMS standards,” Lockheimer noted in a tweet thread on Monday.

Apple’s messaging platform marks iPhone users as blue bubbles but falls back to SMS for Android-using people and marks them as green bubbles. Falling back to the old SMS standard means that many typical IM features are missing or hobbled. This saga has led to many teens and college-aged people in the US feeling peer pressure to switch to iPhones, the Wall Street Journal recently reported.

More reading: Don’t forget — A green bubble on an iPhone is a person

Lockheimer explains that the more modern RCS protocol that replaces SMS supports features like typing indicators, read receipts, better groups, and secure one-on-one chats. These aren’t the only features supported by the standard, as it also enables higher quality multimedia sharing, location sharing, and video calls. There are still a few missing features (e.g. end-to-end encrypted group chats, quoting, etc), but the experience is almost as good as a typical IM app on paper.

“By not incorporating RCS, Apple is holding back the industry and holding back the user experience for not only Android users but also their own customers,” the Google executive claimed, adding that Google was happy to work with the iPhone maker to implement RCS.

Do you have RCS enabled on your phone? Let us know via the poll below.

Do you have RCS enabled on your phone?

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