People like to bash Google because of its penchant for killing or giving up on many of its helpful apps, but one thing Google is not giving up on is its plight to get Apple to adopt RCS on the iPhone. You may remember back in June when Google subtweeted at Apple a tongue-in-cheek unofficial lyric explainer of the song “Texts Go Green” from recording artist Drake, which Google ended with the hashtag #GetTheMessage.
This same hashtag is now being used on a new campaign that lives at android.com/get-the-message, imploring Apple to do the right thing. The website highlights the many ways in which communication breaks down when sending messages between an iPhone and an Android phone and explains how all of this can be easily remedied if iPhones support RCS (Rich Communication Services), which has mostly the same features that iMessage has, except that everyone can use it.
Google stresses that RCS allows things like high-resolution photo and video sharing, read receipts, emoji reactions, and better security and privacy with end-to-end encryption, among other things. iPhones adopting RCS, which is already supported by most major carriers, would not interfere with iMessage but would rather enrich conversations between iPhone and Android users by providing these features to both platforms. It would also mark the end of Android users’ issues when receiving messages from iPhone users, such as pixelated photos and videos and the breakdown of group threads.
However, this campaign seems more aggressive than Google’s previous attempts to reach across the aisle. It could be that Google is tired of playing nice here, but this campaign flat out places the blame on Apple for downgrading their users’ experience by holding on to a 30-year-old technology like SMS/MMS. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. The campaign site even includes an explainer video that boldly says to iPhone users: “Stop blaming your Android friends for ruining group chats. You can blame the geniuses for that.” Ouch!
The campaign encourages users to help Apple #GetTheMessage by providing links throughout the website that creates a tweet mentioning Apple. The tweet asks Apple to stop breaking the texting experience and links back to the campaign website.
I don’t know if this latest move will sway Apple in any way, but I think that the company sees iMessage as a competitive advantage that iOS has over Android and is purposely not supporting RCS to keep it that way. I also believe that many iPhone users are not too concerned with this issue being fixed and happen to like the elitist status of having those blue bubbles. That leaves Android users shouting into the void about why their iPhone friends bully them into getting an iPhone because “Eww, green bubbles.”
The fact remains that this is an issue that mostly affects the U.S., where iPhones are more popular. I was also an iOS user once upon a time. I have had the arduous task of educating my friends and family about never sending me media via their stock messaging app and instead using WhatsApp, which is the messaging app of choice down in South Florida, where I live, and perhaps the rest of the world.