Google continues to beg Apple to fix its messaging problem
In a birthday post earlier in 2023, and again during Wednesday’s I/O conference, Google continues to court Apple, trying to get it to adopt RCS. It’s still not ready, not a standard, and not something Google is all-in on itself.
Apple’s products rely on iMessage when commuting with other Apple products, then fall back on SMS for everyone else. Google has been aggressively pushing a newer standard called RCS, but it isn’t quite ready for primetime.
A push from Google arrives in the form of a condescending blog post. It is nearly the 30th anniversary of the first-ever SMS text, and Google wants Apple to know there’s something newer… again.
“Most of the mobile world is using RCS, but there is one company that’s dragging its heels,” the blog post reads, alluding to Apple. “But after 30 years of SMS texting, it’s truly time.”
And, it tried to hit the nail again during Wednesday’s Google I/O conference. The message remains weak.
Google’s three reasons why
The post provides three reasons Apple needs to get on board with RCS. However, the reasoning isn’t exactly sound.
First, Google cites security thanks to end-to-end encryption. However, it forgets to mention that users have to send messages via the Google Messages app for encryption. That, and encryption for group chats is only available to users of the Google Messages beta.
Second, Google says RCS enables higher-resolution images, video, and more things like emoji reactions. However, other messaging services like Signal, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and even iMessage already have these improvements. It is Google’s problem that Android users don’t have the same benefit by default.
Finally, Google calls RCS an industry standard. Which it isn’t, not even close. Google hasn’t even adopted RCS across all of its disparate messaging platforms.
The post also disparages Apple for using SMS as a fallback, despite RCS doing the same. RCS only works over an internet connection, so it will fall back to SMS just like iMessage does when internet strength isn’t good enough.
RCS isn’t the answer
The foundation of this post is the age of SMS — 30 years. While this is an aging standard that needs to be replaced, it is also a universal one that the entire globe benefits from. No matter how embedded RCS, iMessage, or other platforms become, SMS will take a decade or more to phase out completely.
There is also a fundamental issue with Apple adopting RCS since it is a direct competing platform with iMessage. Google acts as if RCS is a replacement for SMS, but it isn’t — it is just another layer on top of it.
Apple debuted iMessage as a method to unify messaging across its platforms and take the guesswork away from its users. Google failed to do the same, and is making it Apple’s problem.
Hopefully, Google can #GetTheMessage that it isn’t Apple’s job to fix messaging on Android products.