The Android developer just published an updated landing page for Google Messages, showing off key features ranging from customization, privacy and security, and, of course, AI.

On this landing page, there are different sections for each feature set, including one for RCS. As spotted by 9to5Google, if you expand this list of RCS features and scroll to the bottom, you see a section on “Coming soon on iOS: Better messaging for all.” That’s no surprise: We’ve known Apple was adopting RCS since November. However, it’s the next line that brings the news: “Apple has announced it will be adopting RCS in the fall of 2024.”

Of course, this does not say a lot as it is “in the fall” which is anywhere over a couple of months, and Google has tried to embarrass Apple into making moves before. I suppose, though, there is the looming court case against Apple which is anyway keeping pressure on Apple. If it were not for the US court case, I would have guessed Apple may have pulled out after the EU had ruled Apple was not a dominant player in the market (although the EU case was looking more at interoperability with WhatsApp and others in Apple Messages).

Of course, with Apple actually including RCS now, they can probably argue that there is interoperability via RCS between their platform and Android too. It must be remembered that in many countries, like mine, SMS’s are paid for so are very expensive to use for any form of chatting, and the costs go up exponentially when you text an international number.

I personally have quite a few issues with interoperability with Apple:

  • I still have AirTags from when I had an iPhone and I daily get the audio beeps warning me the AirTags are not connected (I use an Android phone and alternate between an iPad and an Android tablet)
  • I can’t wait to sell my AirTags and get the new one’s Google was working on that will interoperate with Apple, but supposedly Apple has been delaying building in that support into their devices (which Google already built into Android for AirTags in 2023)
  • Because I was on Apple Messages and my iPad still sometimes connects, I find a message on my iPad that arrived a week ago which I had not seen (I had Beeper which was solving this problem)

Apple is not at all dominant outside the USA, but it makes interacting with Apple users quite a pain, as Apple has gone out of their way to try to keep their users inside the walled garden.

See https://lifehacker.com/tech/google-just-revealed-when-apple-will-officially-adopt-rcs

#technology #RCS #Apple #interoperability

  • gregorum@lemm.ee
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    4 months ago

    Watch them be pee-yellow bubbles or something, but still not blue, lol.

    • Encrypt-Keeper@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      Honestly they shouldn’t be blue. I don’t say this out of some kind of elitism, I just mean that the different colored chat bubbles are what currently tell you whether you’re using Apple’s E2EE chat function or plain text SMS. RCS would also support encryption, but currently Apple allows you to opt into tighter security controls that hide your iMessage encryption keys even from Apple when your messages are backed up. Your RCS chat partner opens half of the encrypted end to Google’s security policies which you won’t have any control over. So knowing that I’m using RCS when messaging somebody is something I’d want to be aware of.

      • ozymandias117@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I’d assume they’d just be green

        Apple hasn’t agreed to implement RCS encryption, but maybe they will anyway

      • AA5B@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        Right, consider the case of iMessages being green. If you have an iMessage chat with blue bubbles, but try to text from an area with poor reception, it can fail over to SMS. With this scenario, it’s pretty clear why you still want green bubbles to tell you the chat is degraded

    • JackFrostNCola@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      Or maybe they could just allow users to change the colors of their bubbles as a UI preference option.

        • OwnParfait@lemm.ee
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          4 months ago

          Back when the Messages app in macOS supported other services you were able to change the bubble color. But this feature was removed over time…

        • Jojo@lemm.ee
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          4 months ago

          But what if someone accidentally changes the bubble and text colors to an unreadable combination? No. We must protect our users from this obscene nonsense.

    • aeronmelon@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      RCS will replace SMS/MMS, not iMessage. Whether it’s encrypted or not, Apple will still regard it as being a tier beneath their own solution. So green is the new green.

      • OwnParfait@lemm.ee
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        4 months ago

        I don’t mind the different color. Since SMS or RCS can cost money depending on where you are and which contract you have it’s an important information for me if I’m not using iMessage.

  • unalivejoy@lemm.ee
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    4 months ago

    modern features like E2EE

    This is false. E2EE is not part of the spec. It’s just a feature of Google’s implementation, which Apple will absolutely not be using.

    • Jesus@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      Incorrect. They’re working with the GSMA on a universal E2EE protocol. They mentioned that we should not expect E2EE in the first release of RCS on iOS.

      It’s coming, but since they don’t want the proprietary thing Google has, and they want a standard, it’s coming later.

      • rikonium
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        4 months ago

        I read about Apple looking to bring the spec up to par, but I suspect it has a higher chance of being a nothing-burger since carriers haven’t bothered with RCS and Google’s implementation is as controlled/proprietary as iMessage so it will be interesting to see how things go forward.

        • Jesus@lemmy.world
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          4 months ago

          Apple and others have complained that Google was gatekeeping the RCS encryption plugin, and that it needed to be an open standard. Both Apple and Google are now contributing to and open encryption standard now, which should benefit lots of messaging clients.

          That said, the PR folks said late last year that we should not expect encrypted RCS on iOS with release 1 of iOS RCS.

          Google’s website is not incorrect. It’s just missing nuance and dates.

  • brian@programming.dev
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    4 months ago

    it’s ironic with all this that Google fi messages on Android still doesn’t support rcs without losing a bunch of other features

    • BaroqueInMind@lemmy.one
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      4 months ago

      What messaging app are you using, because I’ve been using RCS messaging for the past 5 years on Fi.

        • _thebrain_@sh.itjust.works
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          4 months ago

          That is using messaging for the web through Google Fi. But there is little reason to do that now as Google messages the app itself can be used through messages.google.com. there are several stand alone computer applications that use the portal as well (messages in the windows store, messages or google-messages package in most distros. Dunno about Mac. Either way, instead of fi being the backend, the app connects directly to your PC. You just have to pair your phone using the app directly.

          • brian@programming.dev
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            4 months ago

            yeah that works, it’s even the same interface. you just lose out on also making calls and voicemail from web

          • Macallan@lemmy.world
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            4 months ago

            That article is about Google Messages for Web (aka texting from your computer). It has nothing to do with RCS on your phone.

    • smileyhead
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      4 months ago

      Better yet - Android refuse to support RCS natively in the operaring system itself like it does with SMS since Android ~10.

  • baseless_discourse@mander.xyz
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    4 months ago

    Yeah, I am not using it until it comes to google free android. How is it “better messaging for all” when you are forced to use google’s proprietary implementation on android?!

    Just keep using signal.

    • GadgeteerZA@lemmy.mlOP
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      4 months ago

      The “better” though is over plain text SMS message which we have to pay per message. I use Signal but less than a handful of friends use it so it does not help me much on that front.

      • IronKrill@lemmy.ca
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        4 months ago

        Where I am the situation is flipped: I get infinite SMS, but have to pay for data i.e pay per message on RCS.

        • GadgeteerZA@lemmy.mlOP
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          4 months ago

          That would be the same data then as WhatsApp, Signal, etc. We pay 100’s of percent more on SMS than data, so although there is a data charge, it is really little compared to SMS.

      • blackn1ght@feddit.uk
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        4 months ago

        What are your other contacts using? They can’t be stuck sending SMS and paying per message surely?

        • GadgeteerZA@lemmy.mlOP
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          4 months ago

          They’re mostly using WhatsApp and I deleted all Meta-owned apps. So, yes if they want to reach me they need to send a text message as most apart from 5 or 10 have never bothered to install Signal, Telegram, SimpleX, Threema, Briar, Jami, etc that I am on.

      • abrinael@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        It’s not plain text sms in either case. Apple just defaults to iMessage if the “text” is sent ios to ios. At least with signal there’s no chance of it failing back to sms.

        • GadgeteerZA@lemmy.mlOP
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          4 months ago

          From what I understand with Apple’s fallback (or like Google’s Message app does), if RCS is sensed by the other non-iMessage user, then RCS will be used, if not right now it would still default back to text SMS but then lose some features like hi-res photos etc. Just don’t know how it will work for me where I am on iMessage on my iPad, but when out with my Android phone will the iMessage’s wait a week until I turn on my iPad again. Would be nice if there was a proper presence sensing, and it routes to there. That may be possible with RCS, but we won’t know how Apple plans to use it, and they are not going to want it to be as shiny and nice as sending an iMessage…

    • seth@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      After Signal dropped SMS support, I no longer use SMS. Only a few friends and family members use Signal, so it’s been a pretty effective way to drop my screentime and live in the moment.

      Pooping, and times when I’m waiting for other people to do something or show up somewhere, offer plenty of screentime. Speaking of which, it’s now time to stop pooping. See y’all tomorrow.

  • Jesus@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    So basically what everyone predicted when Apple said it would occur in 2024.

    Major new features are always in the n.0.0 fall releases. No way this was going to be bundled with a late in life iOS 17 bug and security update.

      • catloaf@lemm.ee
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        4 months ago

        That’s probably reported sales. The majority of phones in the country are likely Android phones smuggled over the northern border.

    • GadgeteerZA@lemmy.mlOP
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      4 months ago

      True, but the big number really is the USA followed maybe by Australia. Entire Middle East, Africa, South America, and Asia are Android. India is also massive (behind China), and India is 95% Android.

      • Jesus@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        iOS has markets that it dominates more than the US. For example, Japan, Denmark and Canada. Japan is particularly unique. It’s just under 70% on iOS, while the US is sub 60%

        • GadgeteerZA@lemmy.mlOP
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          4 months ago

          Yes, but a percentage has to be seen in the context of the total to gauge its impact. India for example is 95% of 1.428 billion people vs Japan is 70% of only 124 million. There are just under 200 countries.

          • Jesus@lemmy.world
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            4 months ago

            Apple is not at all dominant outside the USA

            This is all I was replying too. Just saying there are non US markets that Apple dominates.

      • Jesus@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        one country

        ?

        I’m confused. The point of that link was to show that there are other countries, other than the US, that have most of the nation using iOS.

        But yes, Android dominates worldwide installs. I’m not debating that, and that link also very clearly shows that.

  • NobodyElse@sh.itjust.works
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    4 months ago

    So is this going to be standard RCS, which has no encryption and the telcos need to support, or the Googlified version that does E2E encryption but requires storing keys on Google’s servers?

    RCS has interoperability issues itself and Google hasn’t been making the situation better.

    • ryper@lemmy.ca
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      4 months ago

      Apple is apparently working on getting encryption added to the standard

      In a background briefing with reporters, Apple spokespeople touted the company’s recent announcement that it will support the RCS messaging standard for iMessage sometime during 2024. In order to attend Apple’s briefing and view a background document, we had to agree to paraphrase the company’s remarks instead of quoting them directly.

      Apple clarified that it is not implementing RCS as it exists today because it doesn’t believe the standard offers enough privacy and security. Apple said it is working with a standards body—this is likely a reference to the GSMA—to ensure that the version of RCS it eventually implements will support encryption and strong privacy and security.

      Apple said that once it adopts RCS, iPhone and non-iPhone users will be able to exchange messages with higher-resolution photos and videos, and will experience improved group texting. Apple said it hasn’t brought its own message app to non-Apple devices because the user experience wouldn’t meet the company’s standards and that it cannot ensure that a third-party device’s encryption and authentication are secure enough.

    • abrinael@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      I suspected this is what was going on because of the way some of the documents were worded, but I can’t find any direct reference to it. Do you have any? Re: storing encryption keys on google’s servers.

      • NobodyElse@sh.itjust.works
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        4 months ago

        On my phone, so links may come later. It’s hard to find solid documentation on it, since their encryption extension is proprietary, but it’s been referenced as being based on the Signal Protocol. The Signal Protocol, or every implementation of it that I’ve seen, uses a central “trusted” repository of public keys to tell message originators query to encrypt the message to. For Signal, and I assume Google RCS, that central repository is Google. The protocol doesn’t allow for federation, so any system that is interoperable with Google RCS will rely on Google as the trusted authority.

        The private key part I’m much less sure of, since both the Signal and Google RCS clients are closed source. Signal makes you jump through hoops to add a new client, involving one of your currently installed clients. This suggests that Signal isn’t in possession of your private keys. On the other hand, all you need to set up a new Google client is your account password. This suggests that either your keys are held by Google (perhaps encrypted by your account password) or that new keys can be added without needing explicit involvement from current keys.

        Of course this is all speculation because the implementations aren’t available for inspection.

  • RedWeasel@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    “Fall of 20xx” is when Apple usually releases new versions of iOS, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that iOS18 will be the release.