New Google site begs Apple for mercy in messaging war | Ars Technica

August 10, 2022

New Google site begs Apple for mercy in messaging war | Ars Technica:

Google’s version of RCS—the one promoted on the website with Google-exclusive features like optional encryption—is definitely proprietary, by the way. If this is supposed to be a standard, there’s no way for a third-party to use Google’s RCS APIs right now. Some messaging apps, like Beeper, have asked Google about integrating RCS and were told there’s no public RCS API and no plans to build one. Google has an RCS API already, but only Samsung is allowed to use it because Samsung signed some kind of partnership deal.

If you want to implement RCS, you’ll need to run the messages through some kind of service, and who provides that server? It will probably be Google. Google bought Jibe, the leading RCS server provider, in 2015. Today it has a whole sales pitch about how Google Jibe can “help carriers quickly scale RCS services, iterate in short cycles, and benefit from improvements immediately.” So the pitch for Apple to adopt RCS isn’t just this public-good nonsense about making texts with Android users better; it’s also about running Apple’s messages through Google servers. Google profits in both server fees and data acquisition.

Finally, RCS as a messaging platform just isn’t that good. The end result of a 2008 standard with a bunch of extra features slapped onto it is still sub-par compared to platforms like iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram. Other than Google being desperate for one of the few messaging solutions it hasn’t exhausted with mismanagement, there’s no clear argument for why RCS is worth this effort. In the dreamworld utopia where Apple wants to work with Google and Samsung on a message standard, those three companies working together could do much better than a neglected carrier messaging standard.

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