Google pushes Apple to adopt a new kind of text messaging, criticizes 'green bubbles'

Google pushes Apple to adopt a new kind of text messaging, criticizes ‘green bubbles’

Android mascots line the demo area at the Google I/O Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Beck Diefenbach | Reuters

Google, the developer of Android, is increasing pressure on Apple to adopt RCS, a next-generation standard for text messages.

He argues that Apple’s RCS support would help prevent some of the problems that arise when iPhone users text Android owners. Currently, images and videos don’t display as clearly as they could, for example, and texts can’t be sent over Wi-Fi networks.

Google executives have suggested that Apple won’t support RCS because its own system, iMessage, helps the Cupertino company retain iPhone users by locking them into the Apple ecosystem.

In a website and ad campaign Tuesday, Google blamed Apple for creating a poor experience when iPhones send text messages to Android phones or vice versa.

“We hope that Android users will stop being blamed for screwing up chats,” said Adrienne Lofton, Google’s global vice president of integrated marketing for platforms. “This is Apple that is responsible, and it’s time to take responsibility.”

The campaign is a notable escalation in an ongoing compatibility dispute between the two companies that dominate smartphone software. Nearly every smartphone in the world runs Apple’s Android or iOS, and Apple’s iPhone has more than 55% of the US market, according to StatCounter.

Google wants Apple to support the RCS “standard” or specifications that allow many different companies, such as carriers or phone manufacturers, to develop applications that can send and receive RCS messages. Many Android phones already have built-in messaging apps that support RCS.

A key battlefield

Messaging services have become a key battleground for tech giants because if all of a user’s contacts use the same service, then the user is “locked in” and less likely to switch to another platform or app.

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, which owns WhatsApp, has he said it competes directly with Apple because of how widely used iMessage is in the United States. The messages have also drawn the attention of some policymakers who are pushing to force competing services to work with each other under fair competition rules.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Android, said earlier this year that Apple is using its own text messaging platform to lock up your customersreferring to internal Apple emails made public during a lawsuit last year that showed top Apple executives rejecting proposals to bring an iMessage app to Android.

“I am concerned that iMessage on Android simply serves to remove an obstacle for iPhone families to give their children Android phones,” Apple’s current senior vice president in charge of software Craig Federighi wrote in 2013, according to an email.

Apple iMessage is slightly different from other messaging services because it’s the default text messaging app on the iPhone.

Apple’s systems detect when an iPhone sends a text message to another iPhone, and instead of sending that message through the SMS system, it uses Apple’s proprietary iMessage network. Users see the text they sent as a “blue bubble”, as opposed to the green color seen in SMS text messages, such as those of Android users. The inferiority of the “green bubble” texts has become a meme and inspired a song by musician Drake.

iMessage chats provide a better user experience than SMS chats on an iPhone. Many of Apple’s features, like adding emoji reactions to a single text message, barely work in SMS chats. iMessage chats feel faster thanks to Apple’s animations and include features like reading recipes, bubbles that indicate whether a user is typing, and superior group chats.

Apple continues to distinguish iMessage from SMS through new features, such as the ability to unsend or edit messages, launching this fall.

green bubbles

Green and blue bubbles.

Pattonmania | istock | fake images

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.