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Google and Apple have a rivalry that is jovial at times and cutting at others. In a recent blog post, Google took another swing at the Cupertino company’s Messaging platform, claiming Apple’s support of ancient messaging technology is sabotaging the communication between iPhone and Apple users. Instead of a seamless exchange of text, photos, and videos, users get useless green message bubbles and low-quality media.
Apple’s Messaging Mess
Apple and Android owners are familiar with the less-than-adequate text messaging between the two platforms. Instead of read receipts and high-quality videos, people sending and receiving messages between iPhone and Android get the dreaded green message bubbles. Want to know when your message was read? You can’t. Then there’s the issue of multimedia, with videos being downgraded in quality as they’re sent between the two platforms.
Google points the finger at Apple and its reliance on decade-old technology to send messages between phones. The company uses SMS and MMS technology, which are ancient by today’s standards. Google, on the other hand, uses the new and improved RCS technology for messaging, a standard Apple thus far has refused to support.
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SMS/MMS: oldies but goodies
Invented in 1980, SMS is your basic text messaging platform. It works over a cellular connection and doesn’t require Wi-Fi, making it convenient to send a message with limited internet access. It’s excellent for essential text communication, but it’s also constrained. You can only send up to 160 characters before a message is broken into two parts. It also doesn’t support group messages, read receipts, or the typing indication showing when someone is responding.
The other messaging standard that Apple supports is MMS which allows you to send images, video, audio, and other multimedia content. It’s not limited to 160 characters but can only handle small photos or videos. It also requires an internet data connection to send multimedia files.
What is RCS, and why it’s better
RCS is an upgraded version of SMS and MMS. It supports all the cool things we send to each other, like animated gifs, stickers, stunning photos, and high-resolution videos. You can send more than 160 character-text messages and higher-quality multimedia. You can even add a reaction to those messages. It works over a cellular connection or Wi-Fi and supports end-to-end encryption so nobody can spy on your messages. RCS offers a texting experience similar to Apple’s iMessage or Whatsapp, but it is a multi-platform standard and not a phone-specific app.
Apple’s Messaging Choice: iMessage
Apple iMessage is a messaging service created by Apple and launched in 2011. The app lets you send a wide variety of content, including stickers, emojis, reactions, videos, photos, and more. Group chats, live typing, and more … it’s all there. So what’s the big problem with it? It only works between iOS devices. If you include an Android user in a conversation, the app will default to the older SMS and MMS standard. Your beautiful blue messaging bubbles will turn a ghastly green and you are limited in what you can send.
Much to the chagrin of Google, Apple refuses to adopt RCS and add it to iMessage. Google’s Android team is putting on pressure, taking to the internet to call out Apple with a lighthearted video. The company’s social media post even asks others to share and “help @Apple #getthemessage.”