New Google web site begs Apple for mercy in messaging struggle

Enlarge / Just some of the numerous Google messaging logos. Are you able to identify all of them?

Ron Amadeo

Google has been unable to discipline a steady, aggressive messaging platform for years and has completely misplaced the messaging struggle to merchandise with a long-term technique. No less than some divisions inside the corporate are waking as much as how damaging that is to Google as an organization, and now Google’s newest technique is to… beg its competitors for mercy? Google—which has launched 13 completely different messaging apps since iMessage launched in 2011—now says, “It is time for Apple to repair texting.”

Google launched a brand new web site referred to as “Get the Message“—a public strain marketing campaign with a name to “tweet at @Apple to #GetTheMessage and repair texting.” Google hopes public strain will get Apple to undertake RCS, a minor improve to the SMS normal that Apple makes use of for non-iMessage customers. Google has been pushing this technique for the reason that starting of the yr, however coming from the corporate with the world’s most dysfunctional messaging technique, it simply comes throughout as an organization bored with reaping what it has been sowing.

Worldwide, iMessage is not that well-liked (folks have a tendency to love Whatsapp), however within the US, iMessage is sufficient of a cultural phenomenon to have Billboard High 100 songs written about how a lot it sucks to have a inexperienced (SMS) iMessage bubble. One in all Apple’s greatest rivals—particularly for on-line companies—is Google, and Google’s lack of ability to compete with iMessage has contributed an important deal to the present state of affairs. Google apparently feels iMessage’s dominance is damaging to its model, so now it is asking Apple, properly, to please cease beating it so badly.

Google’s web site says, “It isn’t in regards to the colour of the bubbles. It is the blurry movies, damaged group chats, lacking learn receipts and typing indicators, no texting over Wi-Fi, and extra. These issues exist as a result of Apple refuses to undertake fashionable texting requirements when folks with iPhones and Android telephones textual content one another.”

A 14-year-old normal is “fashionable,” proper?

A few of Google’s claims on this web site do not make a lot sense. Google says, “Apple turns texts between iPhones and Android telephones into SMS and MMS, out-of-date applied sciences from the 90s and 00s. However Apple can undertake RCS—the trendy business normal—for these threads as a substitute.” RCS is not a contemporary normal both—it is from 2008—and, regardless of a number of middling updates since then, hasn’t stored up with the occasions.

RCS has hung round so lengthy and remains to be so poorly applied as a result of it was created by the carriers (by means of the GSMA) as a carrier-centric messaging normal. Carriers did this within the heyday of pay-per-message SMS, when provider messaging was an actual income stream. Now that provider messaging is commoditized although, the carriers accountable for RCS do not have an incentive to care about RCS. RCS is a zombie spec.

In Google’s protection, SMS is from 1986, so RCS is extra fashionable than that. That is in all probability extra of an indication that you must by no means work with the GSMA if you do not have to, although. If Google and Apple ever teamed as much as make a messaging duopoly, they might not want the carriers or their historic messaging normal.

Google’s proprietary fork of RCS

Being from 2008 means RCS lacks a lot of what you’d need from a contemporary messaging normal. Initially, as a normal, RCS is provider messaging, so messages are delivered to a single provider telephone quantity, slightly than a number of units by way of the Web, like how you’d anticipate a contemporary service to function. As a typical, there is no encryption. Google tried to glom options onto the growing older RCS spec, however should you take into account these a part of the RCS gross sales pitch, which Google does, now it is extra such as you promoting “Google’s proprietary fork of RCS.” Google would like it if Apple constructed its proprietary RCS fork into iMessage.

Google’s model of RCS—the one promoted on the web site with Google-exclusive options like non-obligatory encryption—is unquestionably proprietary, by the best way. If that is presupposed to be a typical, there is no method for a third-party to make use of Google’s RCS APIs proper now. Some messaging apps, like Beeper, have requested Google about integrating RCS and had been advised there is no public RCS API and no plans to construct one. Google has an RCS API already, however solely Samsung is allowed to make use of it as a result of Samsung signed some type of partnership deal.

If you wish to implement RCS, you may must run the messages by means of some type of service, and who offers that server? It should in all probability be Google. Google purchased Jibe, the main RCS server supplier, in 2015. At this time it has a complete gross sales pitch about how Google Jibe can “assist carriers rapidly scale RCS companies, iterate in brief cycles, and profit from enhancements instantly.” So the pitch for Apple to undertake RCS is not simply this public-good nonsense about making texts with Android customers higher; it is also about working Apple’s messages by means of Google servers. Google earnings in each server charges and information acquisition.