Google attempts publicly disgrace Apple into adopting RCS

Google is kicking off a new publicity campaign today to pressure Apple into adopting RCS, the cross-platform messaging protocol meant to be a successor to the aging SMS and MMS standards.

The search giant has a new “Get The Message” website that lays out a standard set of arguments for why Apple should support the standard, revolving around smoother messaging between iPhone and Android devices. So naturally, there’s also a #GetTheMessage hashtag to get those viral juices flowing.

For most people, the problems Google describes are most familiar in the form of the green bubbles that signify messages to Android users in Apple’s Messages app. While the iPhone app uses Apple’s iMessage service to send texts between iPhones, they revert to old-fashioned SMS and MMS when texting an Android user.

Not only are these messages shown in a color-clashing green bubble but also they break many of the modern messaging features people have come to rely on.

To fix this, Google has been dropping a series of not-so-subtle hints in recent months for Apple to support RCS, which offers most of the features of iMessage in a protocol usable across iOS and Android. The company hoped “every mobile operating system upgrades to RCS” onstage at its annual developer conference this year and in various tweets over the months.

The iPhone maker has everything to gain from the current situation, which has a lock-in effect for customers. It provides seamless communication (but only between iMessage users) and turns Android’s green bubbles into subtle class markers. Apple execs admitted in internal emails that bringing iMessage to Android would “hurt [Apple] more than helping us.”

Google’s arguments for RCS haven’t been helped by the standard’s sluggish and piecemeal rollout, which initially relied on carriers to add support. But the situation has improved since Google effectively took charge in 2019, meaning that RCS is now available almost everywhere. This year even saw the world’s largest Android manufacturer, Samsung, switch to using Google’s own RCS-compatible Messages app by default in its flagship Galaxy S22 range.

RCS has also slowly been gaining feature parity with iMessage’s encryption. For example, it now supports end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in one-on-one chats, and E2EE in group chats is due later this year.

So, will Google’s new publicity campaign finally be the thing that pushes Apple to see the light and roll out RCS support on its phones? Given Apple’s enormous incentives for not playing ball, the search giant’s chances don’t look good. At this point, Apple adopting RCS feels about as likely as the U.S. collectively ditching iMessage and moving to an encrypted cross-platform messaging service like WhatsApp or Signal.

Rich Communication Services is a transmission protocol between mobile-telephone deliverers and between phone and carrier, striving to substitute SMS messages with a text-message system that is more prosperous, delivers phonebook polling, and can transmit in-call multimedia. It is part of the more expansive I.P. Multimedia Subsystem. In addition, Google added support for end-to-end encryption for one-on-one conversations in their extension.

It is also sold as Chat, joyn, SMSoIP, Advanced Messaging, Message+, and SMS+. RCS was obtainable from 88 operators in 59 nations with approximately 390 million monthly users.

A group of enterprise promoters formed the Rich Communication Suite industry initiative in 2007. As a result, GSM Association officially became RCS’s project’ home,’ and the organization established an RCS steering committee.

The steering committee appointed the definition, testing, and integration of the benefits in the application suite understood as RCS.

The Universal Profile, a single GSMA, has specifications for cutting-edge communications. Carriers can deploy the Universal Profile guarantee interconnection with other carriers. Forty-seven mobile network operators, 11 manufacturers, and 2 O.S. providers (Google and Microsoft) have announced their support. In addition, Google’s Jibe Cloud platform implements the RCS Universal Profile, designed to help carriers launch RCS quickly and scale easily.

Samsung is the primary device original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to support RCS. Samsung RCS-capable devices have been commercially projected in Europe since 2012 and in the U.S. since 2015.

Google sustains RCS on Android devices with its Android SMS app Messages. Google would be repositioning the team working on its Google Allo messaging service to work in a broader RCS implementation. Google announced that it would initiate to deploy RCS on an opt-in basis through the Messages app engraved as chat features, with service compliant with the Universal Profile and hosted by Google rather than the user’s carrier.

In October 2019, the four top U.S. carriers jointly announced an agreement to form the “Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative” to implement RCS using a newly developed app. This service will be consistent with the Universal Profile. Both T-Mobile and AT&T later signed agreements with Google to substitute their messaging app with Google’s Messages app.