Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Google’s RCS Update Brings it Closer to Apple’s Standards

  • Google’s Rich Communication Services (RCS) is an internet messaging standard meant to replace outdated technologies like SMS.
  • Google made a couple of announcements on Tuesday that enabled RCS by default and made group messages end-to-end encrypted.
  • However, it is still unclear who gets to benefit from RCS, and there is still some confusion around carrier or device support.
  • For Apple to consider RCS a realistic standard, Google needs to make a stronger case to show it is worth Apple and its customer’s time.

Google has been pushing Rich Communication Services (RCS) as a standard that will replace SMS, criticizing Apple for not adopting it, and yet its latest update is only one tiny step closer to being suitable as an option for Apple. On Tuesday, Google made a couple of announcements via its RCS support channel. RCS is now enabled by default, kind of, and group messages are now end-to-end encrypted as long as everyone in them has RCS enabled.

It’s still not immediately clear who gets to benefit from RCS, though it is an increasing population. There is still some confusion around carrier or device support, and Google has attempted to get around this by baking RCS into Messages by Google. If Apple is ever going to consider RCS a realistic standard to bring to its Messages app, Google needs to make the case. The many ads from Google blaming Apple for not adopting RCS make it seem like an Apple problem to solve.

Google is the driving force behind RCS. Therefore it needs to make it worth Apple’s and its customer’s time. iMessage is ingrained in iOS, unlike RCS on Android, and it’s a foolproof system that ensures users just open their messaging app and start chatting without having to think of what standard they are using. As long as Android users have to think about whether or not they are using RCS, which version is in play, and what app to use — RCS is a failure.

That said, Google does seem to be addressing these problems, albeit slowly. If Apple were to implement RCS in Messages today as an option to message Android users, it removes the simplicity of using Apple Messages and introduces Google’s fragmented issues to the platform. Google has a significant up hill battle on its hands. The company needs to undo decades of carrier bloat, government nosiness, and user norms to get RCS on every platform as a universal standard.

Today’s update is a step in the right direction. There is still a slim chance Apple could consider RCS on iPhone in the next decade. Until then, Apple customers can keep using the foolproof iMessage system.

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