Google scolds Apple for lack of RCS support during Google I/O keynote

Messages on iPhone
Messages on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Google hosted its Google I/O keynote earlier today.
  • During the event, the company highlighted RCS and its expanding adoption and support.
  • The company also scolded Apple for its lack of RCS support on the iPhone.

Google seems to be losing its patience with Apple over RCS.

The company hosted the Google I/O keynote earlier today and, during the event, Vice President of Product Management Sameer Samat took to the stage and highlighted the expanding support for RCS between carriers and Android manufacturers. He also pointed out that over 500 million Google Messages users have already switched to RCS.

After talking about the progress the company is seeing with the new standard, Samat scolded Apple for not yet supporting the new messaging standard on the iPhone. While he did not say Apple by name, his quote below doesn't leave much to the imagination as to who he was referring to:

"We hope that every mobile operating system gets the message, and upgrades to RCS, so your messages are private, no matter what device you're using,"

You can watch the moment that Samat implored Apple to support RCS in the video of the Google I/O keynote below. If you want to specifically watch that moment, it happens a little after two hours and twenty-eight minutes into the keynote:

Tune in to find out about how we're furthering our mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

If you want to watch the version with American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, that is below:

RCS is a big upgrade over SMS, enabling longer messages, higher-quality multimedia sharing, message reactions, and end-to-end encryption. While Apple has iMessage, its own proprietary messaging service that supports all of those things, messaging between an iPhone and Android is still left to SMS.

Hopefully, Apple announces its move to RCS soon so we can all enjoy many of the same features no matter what operating system we are running.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

  • Wow, what amateurish graphics in his presentation. With the new guy running Google, I'm going to say Apple will probably not be going RCS any time soon. We don't need them compromising our privacy.
  • Why would anyone support anything Google when it comes to messaging they are just going to abandon it after tricking other people into investing time and money which will affectively kill the project.
  • Exactly. I’m sure Apple is waiting a little while to see if Google will get bored of RCS. I don’t know of any Android users who actually use RCS, they don’t even know what it is when I ask. It may be the default on Pixel phones but how many people is that? My college student said she needed a new phone and wanted a Pixel but it’s so bad she is using her old phone instead. All in all pretty disappointing.
  • What others aren't acknowledging is that RCS is not a Google messaging standard, it is a standard, just like SMS. There is no issue with Google spying or dropping the standard. The problem at this point is it is not as universally adopted as SMS, and it does require carrier buy in. Even Google's messaging, using RCS, reverts to SMS when RCS is not available on both ends, or in the middle. So Apple is iMessage and SMS, Google is RCS and SMS. To maintain full compatibility, Apple would have to support RCS and SMS, along with iMessage, or drop iMessage. iMessage still has advantages over RCS, secure group messaging being one. If RCS does actually replace SMS as it was intended, it would make sense that Apple would use that as the fallback.