Home / Technology / Google pushes Apple to adopt RCS with security argument

Google pushes Apple to adopt RCS with security argument



Messaging has always been a tough point for Android phones compared to iPhones, simply because iMessage is simply great for both its experience and security. As Google finally solves the problem of extended adoption of RCS with end-to-end encryption, the company is pushing for competitor Apple to do the same by pointing out that the current backup method immediately reduces security.

In case you missed the news, Google and Verizon today announced a partnership that will see Verizon do away with its first-party SMS / RCS app by default and adopt Google. In turn, Verizon customers will have access to the Universal Profile, which allows RCS messaging between carriers worldwide and end-to-end encryption as well. It completed all three major carriers in the United States after AT&T joined the battle in June and T-Mobile before that.

It is clear that things are finally starting to take off when it comes to RCS adoption on Android, but there is still a big barrier to this technology with iPhones. Android users can now chat in RCS between other users of the platform, but sending a text to an iPhone user resets both parties to SMS.

Talking to The Verge this week, Google̵

7;s Android leader Hiroshi Lockheimer commented on this point, explaining that if “the other platform” – also known as Apple – continues to rely on SMS as a refund, it throws off the encryption and in turn security and privacy offered through Apple iMessage.

Going forward, the standard messaging experience on Android will be more secure. The feedback experience on the other platform will not have encryption if it is still SMS. I think it’s a pretty interesting dynamic, and I hope that when everyone focuses on security and privacy, it becomes an important part of the discussion.

This is a smart angle for Lockheimer and in turn Google to play on. In recent years, Apple has pushed a strong story about security and privacy of its customers. By adopting RCS and immediately turning messages between iPhone and Android users into encrypted RCS, Apple is fulfilling that story, but losing a bit of a competitive edge, so it will be interesting to see how things play out in the coming years. Lockheimer apparently would not confirm whether Apple and Google have been in any discussions to bring RCS to the iPhone.

It is of course worth noting that RCS also turns to SMS as a backup when data connections are lost. However, Lockheimer is pushing for the backup time not to be used when switching between iPhones and Android phones as it is today.

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