Google is saying farewell to SMS messaging.
The California-based search giant recently announced it would soon start rolling out a beta testing version of its messaging app to test secured group chats using rich communication services (RCS), per The Verge.
Google also took shots at Apple for still using SMS messaging at a time when all major mobile carriers and manufacturers have moved on to RCS.
Google Secured RCS Group Chat Details
Google mentioned in its announcement that it would soon allow some users in its open beta program to test a new version of its messaging app that makes group chats private to participants only through end-to-end encryption (E2EE).
According to the company’s statement, Google will release this new version to the world soon once its tests are done. It also mentioned that E2EE group chats are just the start of its messaging app’s improvements, revealing that the app will soon let users use any emoji to react to an RCS message.
Google said in its statement that it’s time for the whole mobile phone industry to embrace RCS messaging as its predecessor, SMS messaging is showing its age at a time when app developers are increasing their focus on message privacy.
According to the search giant, RCS messaging can be encrypted while SMS doesn’t. This difference means that hackers and cybercriminals see and read a user’s SMS messages when their phones are compromised.
Additionally, RCS messaging allows users to send and receive high-quality photos and videos, while SMS messaging can’t, with users switching multimedia messaging service (MMS) to send photos, videos, emojis, or a website link, per T-Mobile.
RCS messaging also enables users to see real-time typing indicators and read receipts, name group conversations, and remove contacts from group chats, as well as text over Wi-Fi.
Finally, Google argues that RCS messaging has become the industry’s modern standard, completely replacing SMS in the process. All of the major mobile carriers and manufacturers have adopted RCS messaging as their go-to messaging service – all except Apple.
Why Apple Wants To Stay With SMS
Apple is reluctant to part ways with SMS even if Google calls them “being stuck in the 1990s.” In the QA&A portion of Kara Swisher’s talk with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the recent Code Conference, an audience member asked Cook why Apple isn’t adopting RCS, per 9to5Mac.
Cook replied that iOS users are not asking Apple to “put a lot of energy into [adopting RCS] at this point.”
The audience member then explained that he and his mom are unable to contact each other through text messages as his mom has an Android phone, while he has an iPhone.
Cook then gave the audience member a piece of advice: “buy your mom an iPhone.”
This refusal to adopt RCS could be due to Apple’s wish to keep its iMessage service unique, as doing so would bring many iMessage-like features to cross-platform communication between iPhone and Android devices.
Despite this, Google hopes that Apple will soon adopt RCS as it is the only one in the industry not to do so.