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Google desperately wants Apple to let them into iMessage by adding RCS support

Google is once again trying to get Apple to implement RCS in order to provide more protection to its users.

imessage bubble
Image: KnowTechie

Google has long tried to publicly bully Apple into adopting a universal messaging standard. The latest show of public force was over the weekend, and it includes both the main Android Twitter account and Google Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer.

This is somewhat ironic, as they are using their large public followings to bully Apple’s own “peer pressure and bullying.” That said, Apple is the last piece of the puzzle for universal Rich Communications Service (RCS) in the US.

If Apple were to support RCS in iMessage, that would help put a stop to insecure messaging, as all messages would be end-to-end encrypted.

Google’s track record with messaging strategy is terrible

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Image: Google

Apple has used iMessage since 2011 when iOS 5 was released. It allowed for messages and crucially, images, to be sent over WiFi or data, bypassing the often-high charges for SMS and MMS by your carrier.

It also allowed for higher-quality images and video to be sent and brought messages to devices like the iPod Touch and iPad that didn’t have SIM cards for a cellular plan. Simple, effective, and one app throughout.

Google has a far more complicated history with messaging, even with SMS and RCS. Google Hangouts was a good SMS replacement, and the closest to what iMessage provides for Apple.

Except, Google started playing around with other default messaging apps before deciding to kill it off in 2018.

Then came Google Allo, which also died in 2019. Why? It was restricted to one device only and didn’t have SMS integration.

Around that same time, Google started switching to Google Messages as the default messenger app on Android.

That switch brought Rich Communication Services, the RCS that the company is trying to get Apple to also adopt. In predictable Google fashion, it was a mess from the start.

Google tried to push the carriers to roll it out, then the carriers partnered together to push their own vision of RCS out.

Nowadays, RCS is available to every Android user worldwide. Assuming they’re using Google Messages for SMS, that is. RCS doesn’t work when sending messages to iPhone users, falling back to the feature-bare, insecure SMS protocol.

What would happen if Apple implemented RCS in iMessage?

android messages icon
Image: KnowTechie

If Apple implements RCS into iMessage, Android users and iPhone users could finally talk to each other with eggplant emojis without having a different color bubble. Harmony would rule across the land as encrypted messages are sent back and forth freely and safely.

The problem is obvious, though: Who’s to say that Google won’t backtrack from RCS at some point in the future?

They have a terrible track record with messaging apps, releasing all of these only to kill most of them off: Talk, Voice, Wave, Buzz, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Spaces, Allo, YouTube Messages, Google Chat for Business, Maps Messaging, Messages, Google Photos Messages, Stadia Messages, Google Pay Messages, and who knows how many video-only apps.

The only minor consolation is that RCS is a standard, and is already supported by many of the major carriers. Will it ever replace SMS/MMS as the default worldwide? Only time will tell.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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