Google executive invites Apple to add RCS to the iPhone to end Blue vs. Green bubble war

Google executive invites Apple to add RCS to the iPhone to end Blue vs. Green bubble war
With several Android users having iMessage envy (the first symptom is jealousy over the blue text bubble used with iOS to iOS iMessages), Google's Rich Communication Services (RCS) offers some of the same features to Android users. Google starting rolling out RCS hoping it would replace the carriers' own texting apps. Unlike SMS, RCS runs through a data network instead of cellular allowing it to be used with Wi-Fi.

With RCS, users can send messages as long as 8,000 characters in length compared to the 160 allowed with SMS. It also allows Android users to share larger video files and bigger images. When an Android user is using RCS to converse with another RCS user, the text bubbles are both blue. RCS users also get read receipts. and have the ability to engage in group conversations.

Google Senior VP Lockheimer asks Apple to support RCS

This past June, RCS added an iMessage feature that Android users wanted very much: end-to-end-encryption. This feature is only available with one-to-one messages on RCS meaning that group chats are not protected as they are with iMessages. Still, RCS is a huge step up from SMS and Google has made it the default texting option in Android. Carriers are also going along with RCS to replace their texting apps which tend to be quite poor.

On Thursday, Google Senior VP Hiroshi Lockheimer invited another big player to join the RCS revolution: Apple. In a tweet, the executive wrote, "Group chats don't need to break this way. There exists a Really Clear Solution. Here's an open invitation to the folks who can make this right: we are here to help." Can't figure out what that tweet means? Let's dig in deeper.

According to that notoriously tech-heavy publication Golf Digest (please scan for sarcasm here), pro golfer and member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team Bryson DeChambeau was "breaking" iMessage group chats thanks to his Android phone. Members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team had been conversing which each other via group text following their recent victory.
DeChambeau's teammate, Scottie Scheffler, was asked during a press conference whether members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team were still bragging about their victory during group chat sessions. Scheffler responded by saying, "Honestly, our group chat was a little bait of a pain in the butt because Bryson is the only one who does not have an iPhone. I know that's really a shock that Bryson's the odd man out on that one. But we gave him some crap about that in the beginning of the week."

Android responded to the story by tweeting, "Green jacket is next for our green bubble king @b_dechambeau." The green jacket, as any sports fan worth his salt knows, is awarded to the winner of the Masters, and the fact that it is green (like SMS text bubbles) is a nice coincidence.

All it takes is one Android user to join a chat comprised of iOS users for the text bubbles to turn green and the encryption to go away

So let's examine again the tweet from Google's Lockheimer. Responding to Android's post, the executive says that group chats don't need to "break" because one member of the group is using an Android phone creating a lone green text bubble. He says that there is a Really Clear Solution by which he means Rich Communication Services. The open invitation to the folks that can make this right is referring to an invitation to Apple to support RCS on iOS.

You see, all it takes is one Android user in a group chat full of iOS users to move the conversation off of the encrypted iMessage platform and on to the green bubbled, unprotected SMS platform. Yes, if Apple were to support RCS we would not see group chats "break" in this manner and chats between Android and iOS users would be encrypted.

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