Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer, one of the original members of the Android team, has offered Apple help to implement RCS on iPhone. Apple currently uses iMessage on its products, alongside SMS. iMessage popularly shows blue bubbles for chat messages with other iMessage users and falls back to green bubbles for SMS conversations.
RCS stands for Rich Communication Services and has been adopted by many cellular companies around the world. Companies like Google and Samsung already support it via their Messages apps.
Google SVP offers Apple ‘help’ to implement RCS
Hiroshi Lockheimer’s informal offer comes through a tweet from his Twitter account. The official Android account had retweeted ‘Green hack is next for our green bubble king’ while quoting a tweet from Golf Digest regarding golfer Bryson DeChambeau breaking iMessage group chats with green bubbles. Hiroshi Lockheimer quotes the official Android account tweet and said
Group chats don’t need to break this way. There exists a Really Clear Solution. Here’s an open invitation to the folks who can make this right: we are here to help.
This is clearly a veiled offer towards Apple as they are the only ‘folks who can make this right’. The only other major mobile platform that does not offer any support for RCS whatsoever. Apple still supports SMS alongside iMessage, and while SMS is not popular anymore in most countries as it has been replaced by online messaging services, it is still popular in the United States. Google has deals in place to get the major cellular services in the United States to support RCS which means that it could replace SMS down the road. RCS even supports end-to-end encryption now which means that it is as secure as other services. However, it is tied to a user’s phone number, which can be a hassle for many users who don’t want to share their phone numbers with others.
Apple does not want to make it easy for iMessage users to migrate to Android. The company keeps it as a feature that works great in Apple’s ecosystem and creates a barrier for changing platforms. It is unlikely that Apple would switch to it, as it would mean that users would not use iMessage as much. However, if the adoption by carriers around the world increases, it could force Apple to adopt it as a standard.
For now, there is a lot of irony in Lockheimer’s tweet. Google has failed to create a good messaging service for more than 15 years, with new apps, services, and rebranding every few years. It has become a running joke in the industry with regard to Google’s countless attempts at nailing down messaging. So the last company that should be offering help to Apple in this area is Google.