For a while now, Google has been trying to get Apple to adopt it RCS standard. To this date, Apple has firmly chosen to stay within a range iMessage walled garden. Recently, the Senior Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems at Google talked about RCS, its growth, and iMessage.
in conversation with 9to5GoogleHiroshi Lockheimer’s research on RCS. During the talk, Lockheimer recalled history, explaining how the GSMA engaged with Google to provide support for RCS. This help was crucial because carriers — such as Verizon and AT&T — all had their own plans for how to implement the standard. He also touched on how Google realized it could accelerate adoption of RCS by allowing users to “have that experience by downloading an app rather than waiting for something they can’t control to happen.”
As for the current state of RCS, Lockheimer said that the number of people using Google’s RCS has grown a lot since last year. according to 9to5GoogleThat number was 500 million as of Google I/O 2022. Lockheimer also mentioned that Google isn’t trying to replace other messaging apps, it just wants something better than the old SMS system to be the default.
Our research shows that the average person uses 3 to 4 messaging apps, be it WhatsApp or Snap. That’s great. We’re not trying to build RCS into one app to rule them all.
The discussion seems to have ended with Lockheimer expressing how he feels about iPhone users caught in the middle:
Since you mentioned Apple, I’ll just mention, they’ve talked about how important privacy really is as a human right and how important that is to them. I feel like, “Look at the technology that’s available right now…” Now I feel bad for iPhone users who are going to experience degraded features, and it would be nice if they could provide that for them. And the best protection for them, too. You know Android users are fine, they text each other pretty securely and all that stuff, and now it just gets weird because now when they interact with iPhones we’re going to have to deal with a degraded security experience.
At the end of the day, Apple could always change its mind about RCS. But it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon, even as pressure builds from tech enthusiasts and other members of the industry.