Google takes another dig at Apple regarding RCS

Google is up to the task again. The company took another subtle dig at Apple for the lack of RCS support on iPhones. This time around, he was in front of hundreds of onlookers at his Made by Google event last week, and millions more at home. It wasn’t to take the Apple name, but the reference was obvious.

“When it comes to text messages, Pixel uses RCS for enhanced media sharing and end-to-end encryption,” Google’s Brian Rakowski said while introducing new messaging features on the Pixel 7 series on stage ( via). “RCS is the modern industry standard for messaging, and it has already been adopted by most of the industry. We hope every device manufacturer will understand the message and adopt RCS, which will improve texting for every smartphone user.

This is Google’s latest dig at Apple regarding RCS

By “each device maker,” Google means Apple. Because RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is pretty much already standard on Android. The iPhone maker has been reluctant to adopt RCS because it doesn’t have much to gain from it. Of course, RCS would make text messaging more interoperable between Android and iOS, thus benefiting iPhone users. It brings modern features like keystroke indicators, read receipts, large file support, etc. Currently, messaging between Android and iOS relies on the outdated SMS standard.

However, adopting RCS also means that Apple would lose its lock-in effect. Since its iMessage already offers all the modern features brought by RCS, it sets Android users apart by displaying text messages in green bubbles. Messages between two iPhones appear in blue bubbles. This creates a lock-in effect, especially in group chats where most participants have an iPhone. Android users feel included as they lack several advanced messaging features, which pushes them towards iPhones.

Google has been very vocal about this, calling it Apple’s documented strategy. He leaves no opportunity to call out the iPhone maker for such negligence. Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer last year called RCS a really clear cut solution for Android-iOS messaging interoperability. The company also recently launched a dedicated website saying “it’s time for Apple to fix SMS.” It followed with over 500 digital billboards in Manhattan and Brooklyn with campaign ads targeting Apple’s decision not to support RCS on iPhones.

The latest dig is less direct, but it hit the scene at a big event where Google announced the Pixel 7 smartphones and the Pixel Watch. Apple is still unlikely to budge, however. Time will tell if iPhones will ever support RCS.