Tech

Google charges Apple for not adopting RCS in Messages

There was a time, between the mid-1990s and the end of the first decade of this century, when SMS messages became one of the most used systems in the world to communicate. They were brief, immediate and, although in their early days they were not a particularly cheap option, over the years their use began to be cheaper, reaching a point where operators began to offer unlimited sending of them within their various plans, even the cheapest.

Some time later the MMS messages arrived, but their high cost, added to the fact that their reception could cause additional expenses, as it was necessary to connect to the Internet to download them, caused its success to be much lower than that of SMS. In fact, we can say that they were not really successful at all, but rather a pretty resounding failure. They only achieved “reasonable” usage fees because some polytone, background, game and other stores used them to send users what they had just bought.

With the proliferation of smartphones and, even more so, of instant messaging services for them, SMS began to fall into oblivion, to the point that today its use, except in certain areas, is purely testimonial. However, both Android and iOS maintain the more than necessary compatibility with them, offering in the same app a combination of SMS/MMS with its own messaging system.

The problem is that each platform uses a different system. While Android bets on RCS (Rich Communication Services, Enriched Communication Services), a format born from a GSMA initiative, Apple bets on its own format, the one used in Messages, incompatible with RCS. Thus, the users of both platforms cannot communicate with each other, through the native messaging apps of their devices, without resorting to SMS.

Google has been pressuring Apple for some time to put an end to this situation, adopting RCS, and the latest step in this direction has been the launch of the It’s time for Apple to fix texting campaign, translated, It’s time for Apple to fix texting. A campaign that is summarized in the initial text of your website:

«It’s not about the color of the bubbles [en referencia a que, en Mensajes, los SMS/MMS se muestran en burbujas verdes, mientras que los de iMessage lo hacen en azul]. It’s about blurry videos, broken group chats, lack of read receipts and write indicators, inability to send text messages over Wi-Fi, and much more. These problems exist because Apple refuses to adopt modern texting standards when people with iPhones and Android phones text each other.»

Google claims, not without reason, that “Apple converts text messages between iPhone and Android phones into SMS and MMS, obsolete technologies from the 90s and 2000s«, to then stress that those from Cupertino could adopt RCS and, in this way, allow users to communicate with each other, regardless of the platform they use, cCounting everything that RCS offers compared to SMSa system put into operation when having an Internet connection on phones was still an aspiration for the future.

The campaign mentions several important aspects for which this change would be more than desirable, from the operation of RCS through WiFi to, and personally this point seems key to me, end-to-end encryption. Thus, as an alternative until Apple decides to make this leap, if it ever does, Google recommends alternative services, specifically WhatsApp and Signal. Now, the big question is whether Apple will respond to this demand, not only from Google but also from quite a few users, by finally adopting RCS or if, on the contrary, it will prefer to keep iMessage as the exclusive communication platform between iPhone users. forcing those who want to use Messages to communicate with Android users to do so via SMS/MMS.

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