iMessage and those pesky green texts are among the most significant things keeping people locked into Apple’s ecosystem (though it is a pretty lovely ecosystem). As you might expect, Google isn’t happy about this as Apple’s primary competition, and it has voiced its concerns.
The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about Apple’s iMessage domination, specifically related to young people. That demographic seems particularly averse to green text bubbles, which makes sense, as a shockingly high amount of US teens use Apple’s smartphones. The WSJ article seems to have prompted Google to think about how Apple is using iMessage to lock people in.
“iMessage should not benefit from bullying,” the Android team tweeted recently. “Texting should bring us together, and the solution exists. Let’s fix this as one industry.”
Of course, Google isn’t saying it wants iMessage on Android, even though iMessage offers many valuable features, including end-to-end encryption. Instead, Google wants Apple to support RCS in iMessage.
“We’re not asking Apple to make iMessage available on Android,” Google’s senior vice president Hiroshi Lockheimer tweeted. “We’re asking Apple to support the industry standard for modern messaging (RCS) in iMessage, just as they support the older SMS / MMS standards.”
I’ve seen the green text hatred first hand, and it’s no fun. I use an iPhone as my primary device, and I recently tested an Android phone for review. When I swapped my SIM card into the Android phone and “ruined” our group thread by making the messages green, I heard seemingly endless complaining from my friends. Eventually, I relented and stuck my SIM back in my iPhone and got a burner account for the test phone.
Google arguments aren’t without merit, as the company points out that SMS isn’t nearly as secure, and forcing it on users is hurting people with iPhones as much as it is Android users. Google wants Apple to use RCS, but that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
Of course, this isn’t a problem for many people, especially in parts of the world outside North America, where services like WhatsApp, Telegram, and other messaging apps are far more popular. Still, this is a battle between mega-companies that primarily impacts smartphone users, which is far from ideal.