Google blasts Apple for ‘broken’ iPhone, Android texting

Have you ever wondered why that amazing video you’re trying to send to a friend or relative appears tiny and pixelated? This is just one of several texting problems that Google blamed Apple for blunt message posted on his website on Tuesday.

“It’s time for Apple to fix Text,” wrote Google, calling out the Cupertino, California-based company for a variety of user confusion that it says is related to Apple’s “outdated” messaging service options leading to a “broken experience.”

Text among owners of Apple devices uses encrypted iMessage and appears in a blue bubble; they can be sent via mobile data networks or via Wi-Fi. When an Android device, for example, that cannot use iMessage enters the conversation, the text is sent via SMS / MMS and appears in a green bubble, without many of the features offered by iMessage.

SMS, short for Short Message Service, refers to basic text, while photo or video messages are sent through MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service.

Google uses Rich Communication Services (RCS) for messaging on its Android devices, and is calling on Apple to adopt the same communication protocol to improve the texting experience between Apple and Android devices.

SMS concept date again to the 1980s and is the most widely used type of mobile messaging around the world. On Tuesday, Google called it “out-of-date” and blamed several problems during the Android-iPhone text snafus: Blurry, small photos and videos; lack of encryption, no typing indicator, no read receipt and one cannot leave group text.

While personal frustrations are one thing, some young Android users have reported being isolated and left out of the group text because their messages “turn on the green thread,” leaving white text on a light green background remove some iMessage features.

Analyst Ben Bajarin told Fast Company that his teenage son explained, “we’ll start a new group chat, and the group will realize I’m the reason it’s green, and they’ll start another group chat without me.”

Distaste for the green text message has become fodder for memes and tweets about social stigma and even romantic some attached to the green text bubble.

“If I give you my number and a green bubble pops up when you text me, I’ve (at least) questioned your taste level,” one person quipped.

“Can’t believe I kissed a boy with my green text so good it’s my charity for the year,” another tweeted.

Now, Google hopes to leverage the “Get The Message” campaign – with videos from stars like Vanessa Hudgens and Madelaine Petsch – to pressure Apple into adopting RCS.

“The bad experience you get when texting Android users is created by Apple,” Google claims.

Judging by the evidence that emerged in last year’s court battle with “Fortnite” maker Epic Games Inc., it seems difficult to shame the Silicon Valley giant into eliminating SMS/MMS.

Among the thousands of pages of internal documents revealed during the trial, emails between Apple executives discussed iMessage and Android, according to a January report in the Wall Street Journal.

“In the absence of a strategy to become the primary messaging service for [the] For most mobile phone users, I am concerned that iMessage on Android can simply be deleted [an] obstacle for iPhone families to give their kids an Android phone,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s software chief executive, wrote in an email in 2013.

In a 2016 email, Phil Schiller, then head of marketing, told CEO Tim Cook that “moving iMessage to Android would hurt us,” and another executive likened iMessage to “serious lock.”

It’s unclear what role the blue-green bubble share may have played in Apple’s success in the US market, but when it comes to young consumers, the iPhone is the clear sales champion.

In 2021, a study by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found that more than 70 percent of people between 18-24 bought an iPhone, according to the Journal.

Nexstar reached out to Apple for comment on Google’s campaign but did not receive a response.

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