During the Google I/O keynote on Wednesday, the company pointed out that its Rich Communication Service (RCS) has more than 500 million active users worldwide. For those unfamiliar with RCS, this is the platform Google uses for its Messages app and offers several of the same features that iOS users can use with iMessages. These include the ability to send much larger messages compared to the smaller ones allowed when using SMS over Android.
Rich Communication Services (RCS) from Google has 500 million active users worldwide
Because RCS uses a data connection rather than a cellular connection, messages can be sent and received over Wi-Fi. Higher quality videos (not to mention longer videos) can be sent with RCS along with read receipts, and RCS now offers users end-to-end encryption. These are things available to iPhone users when they message other iOS users in a group conversation.
Google’s RCS has a large number of active users
But once an Android user joins the iOS group chat, iMessage will text and the blue speech bubbles will turn green. This is a big problem for iOS users because it means that thanks to that Android user who dares to join their group chat, all those great iMessage features can’t be used. The shared images aren’t high quality, there’s no coding or read receipts, and it’s all the fault of that one goddamn Android user.
Keeping its customers’ messages private isn’t the only reason Google would like to see Apple add RCS to its Messages app. It would be a big dent in the blue/green bullying speech bubble, which means teens can buy Android phones without worrying about being bullied. But Apple fears it will lose customers if it doesn’t continue to make iMessages seem special.
Google would like to see Apple support RCS with its Messages app
Interestingly enough, when RCS users get together for a group chat, they all see blue speech bubbles and can take advantage of the special features available on RCS, including longer videos, read receipts, and the ability to view longer video clips and higher quality photographic images. But once an iOS user joins the group, guess what happens. The blue bubbles turn green and all those great RCS features disappear and are replaced by SMS capabilities.
In other words, ruining a group chat is not something that only Android users can do. It turns out that iOS users can influence Android users and do the exact same things with their group chats that iOS users accuse Android users of doing to them.
At this point, Google can only continue to act like the good twin sister, willing to take whatever steps necessary to keep the peace, while Apple acts like the spoiled brat in the family who always has to have his own way, even if there is a way to defuse the current battle.