Google hopes new campaign will get Apple to support RCS

imessage editing patent
(Image credit: Apple Inc)

Google is ramping up its efforts to get Apple to support the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard on iMessage after previous offers to work together on integration fell on deaf ears.

With support from the mobile industry body GSMA, device manufacturers, and mobile operators, Google has been spearheading RCS as a successor to SMS and a competitor to over-the-top messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

RCS works natively in vendor messaging applications, including Android Messages but Apple has not yet got on board. It launched iMessage in 2011 with iOS 8 but the application has not spread beyond Apple devices like the iPhone iPad and Mac.  

Apple RCS

This means iMessage users wanting to communicate with non-iOS users need to send SMS texts that lack the ability to include rich media such as images, videos, and gifs.

Google’s new ‘Get the message’ campaign highlights the problems that many users have with a lack of interoperability. This includes broken group chats, a lack of multimedia support, and the inability to communicate if there is no Wi-Fi connection.

“It’s not about the colour of the bubbles,” reads the campaign website. 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.

“Apple turns texts between iPhones and Android phones into SMS and MMS, out-of-date technologies from the 90s and 00s.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.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.