Google's new website asks Apple to end the green bubble bullying by supporting RCS

Google's new website asks Apple to end the green bubble bullying by supporting RCS
Rich Communication Service (RCS)is the successor to SMS and MMS on Android. RCS does just about the same things that Apple's iMessage does, but only when a message is being sent from one RCS user to another. Similarly, Apple allows iMessages to be sent only between iMessage users. So what is the difference? Well, it seems that iPhone users are more intolerant than those with an Android device.

When a person with an Apple device sends a message to another Apple device, the text bubble is blue. And that is the same thing that happens on RCS between two Android users. So imagine that there is a group chat going on among iPhone users. All of a sudden, an Android user joins the group. Because of this one Android user, the chat no longer can use the iMessage system and messages are sent using the older SMS or MMS technologies.

The blue bubble issue leads to bullying and peer pressure; Apple can put an end to it

All of the features normally found on iMessages like read receipts (which tell you whether a message you've sent has been read), encryption, typing indicators, and the ability to send longer messages and higher-quality images go out the window when even just one Android user joins the group. And the blue bubbles turn green to indicate the presence of an Android user who gets attacked by the iPhone users just because he/she uses a different kind of phone.

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The Android user in the group becomes the target of insults. "What's the matter, can't afford an iPhone?" is one typical message sent to make the Android user feel small. Those without an iPhone are pressured to buy one so that their messages can also show up as a blue bubble instead of the dreaded green. This blue vs. green bubble issue, as unimportant as it seems on the surface, has become a source of teenage angst.

Google has been trying to get Apple to support RCS but to no avail. Apple has no reason to do what Google asks even though back in May, Google announced that RCS has 500 million monthly active users. At the Google I/O developer conference when this was announced, the company sent a subtle message to Apple when it said, "We hope that every mobile operating system gets the message, and upgrades to RCS. So your messages are private, no matter what device you’re using."

You see, Apple could end the green bubble bullying by simply supporting RCS. That would stop an Android user in an iPhone group chat from halting all of the iMessage features that Apple users love. And to get this message across, Google has posted a new website that says "It's time for Apple to fix texting." Google writes that "It’s not about the color of the bubbles. It’s the blurry videos, broken group chats, missing read receipts and typing indicators, no texting over Wi-Fi, and more. These problems exist because Apple refuses to adopt modern texting standards when people with iPhones and Android phones text each other."

RCS users also lose features whenever an iPhone user joins a group chat

Google has the solution. "Apple turns texts between iPhones and Android phones into SMS and MMS, out-of-date technologies from the 90s and 00s. But Apple can adopt RCS—the modern industry standard—for these threads instead. Solving the problem without changing your iPhone to iPhone conversations and making messaging better for everyone."

Clicking on a link that says "Help @Apple #GetTheMessage" takes you to Twitter where a tweet has already been composed for you to send to Apple. The text says, "@Apple, stop breaking my texting experience. #GetTheMessage."

Now here is something interesting. RCS users in a group chat also see only blue bubbles until an iPhone user joins the chat and that stops RCS features like read receipts, encryption, typing indicators, and the ability to send longer messages and higher-quality images from working. At that point, the members of the group are using SMS and MMS and their texts are enclosed in a green bubble. Sound familiar?

The truth is that both sides have the same issue. It is just that you don't hear about it from Android users who are less likely to say, "What's the matter, can't afford a Moto G Power?" Besides, it is Google who is looking to end the bullying and peer pressure by trying to get Apple to support RCS. The latter is supported by over 500 phone manufacturers and wireless providers worldwide.

Who doesn't support it? Apple. If you think that Apple should put its emphasis on the mental health of teens instead of profits, you can follow Google's lead and demand that Apple support RCS.

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