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Texting is such a basic feature that most of us don’t give much thought to it. But Apple knows that it can capitalize on instant messaging to keep users locked into its ecosystem and compel Android users to switch to iOS. Google has been trying hard to get Apple to move to the Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol for a seamless messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices but Apple is in no mood to listen. Google thinks Apple is putting its users in harm’s way with this behavior.
RCS was created by GSMA to replace SMS and MMS and allow users to have a richer texting experience with support for group chats, images, videos, read receipts, and end-to-end encryption. Android users can enjoy RCS messaging by downloading Messages by Google from Play Store.

Apple has its own messaging service called iMessage but it’s only for Apple users. iMessages appear in blue bubbles on Apple devices whereas messages sent by Android users appear in green text bubbles and are treated like SMS/MMS messages. That’s why, messaging between Android phones and iPhones is broken. Google’s Senior Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems Hiroshi Lockheimer believes this can create problems for iPhone users.

Talking to 9to5Google’s Max Weinbach, Lockheimer pointed out that it was GSMA who approached the company to bring support for RCS. In 2019, the company introduced RCS Chat to make it easier for users to access RCS without needing to rely on carriers. Google’s RCS service has more than 500 million users.
Google doesn’t want RCS to replace the likes of WhatsApp or Snapchat. But since this is the default way to communicate for most users, Google wants the experience to get better. That can’t happen without Apple’s cooperation. 

Apple is free to pick and choose the elements of RCS that it wants, such as improved security. This way, the fancier features would still remain exclusive to Apple devices. But the company has made it clear that it won’t do that.

If an Apple user uses the Messages app to talk to an Android user, the messages will be sent as traditional SMS messages and won’t be secure. So, at the end of the day, Apple is doing a disservice to its users, and this makes Lockheimer feel bad for iPhone owners.

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