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Google Takes On Apple, Says It Needs To Fix Messaging By Adopting RCS

By: S Aadeetya


Last Updated: August 10, 2022, 17:17 IST

San Francisco

Google wants Apple to adopt RCS

Google wants Apple to adopt RCS

Google took control of RCS in 2019 and since then it has been wanting Apple to switch sides so that iPhone and Android users can use the same technology for messaging. But does it have a point?

Google is starting a public campaign wherein it accuses Apple of operating in a walled garden with its iMessage service. The search giant advises Apple to fix the messaging, and in its own way, asking the iPhone maker to adopt Rich Communication Services or RCS which is the new-age SMS or MMS service for smartphone users.

Google points out that for an iPhone user to message an Android smartphone user, they still need to rely on SMS or MMS which is a ’90s technology and is unsafe to use these days.

Google has also released a video which looks at the different messaging platforms in colour codes, where green is Apple and blue is Android. Google has even developed a website to make its point.

Google accuses Apple of downgrading the experience of users (with iMessage locked in for iOS users). RCS is heralded as the next-gen messaging service, but it has been around for years now, and Google claims it has over 500 million users adopting the RCS messaging service on their Android phones. To be fair, Google only took over the control of RCS in 2019 and now it wants to speed up the adoption scale for the platform.

Now, we don’t know if these numbers (500 million RCS users) include the active users or just anyone with the app installed on their phone. RCS on an Android smartphone works through the Google Messages app, and you can activate it by enabling Wi-Fi or data services for the feature in the settings of the app.

So, while iMessage users get encryption, support for group calls and sharing of rich content, iPhone users rely on SMS to text their Android friends.

But even if we are to believe what Google is saying, does the trend look at this issue from a global standpoint? Most people (in billions) use WhatsApp for chatting, and this platform works the same way on iPhones and Android. Also, there is no incentive for Apple to warm up to RCS, simply because the iMessage ecosystem works and adopting RCS could harm its own platform.

In markets like India, iMessage is not even that prominent, especially when over 90 per cent of the users are on Android. So it is obvious that Google is aiming at the US market trends with its latest campaign, wherein it has got other brands involved as well.

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first published:August 10, 2022, 16:58 IST
last updated:August 10, 2022, 17:17 IST