Will Android and Apple ever play well? Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo
This week, with the massive unveiling of Samsung’s new foldable device and accessories, Google launched its own advertising campaign in an attempt to rally troops against Apple’s tyrannical rule on messaging. of google #get the message The campaign hopes to fan the fires of millions of upset Android fans by encouraging Apple to support RCS messaging, the cross-platform standard recently adopted by Google Messages.
The Get the Message website reads like a Bible class handout from my old Christian school. It’s got all the talking points Google wants me to use to remind people that it’s Apple’s fault that I, as an Android user, can’t reach the full resolution and capabilities afforded by Apple Messages. There is no access. Google brings up that, sometimes, group messages break because they involve a mix of people using Apple and Android, often leading to “social frustration.” It also links to previous coverage pointing out that kids and teens are afraid to carry an Android device for fear of an uncool green bubble.
When I saw the ad campaign live I knew immediately what Google was going to do. I remember the first tweet from Google Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer about the inefficiencies of Apple’s proprietary messaging standard. And then for the second time, months later when he called on Apple to make it easier for everyone.
But the latest #getthemessage campaign seems to be a bit everywhere. I’m struggling to understand exactly the demographic that should go after Apple to make things good. Is it Android old people like me who are cranky and complain about the lack of parallelism in messaging since the early days on the platform? Or is it Gen Z-ers on TikTok who have no problem taking on weirdos riverdale Storylines and whatever is going on with the scary shit show The CW is allowing to show up there? (I hear it’s great.)
Why is Madelaine Petsch, who plays Cheryl riverdaleshare of advertising campaign, Is she going to inspire young people to help drive the point home? Plus, why is Vanessa Hudgens part of this ad campaign when her last relevant IMDB entry is princess switch, a Netflix-exclusive Christmas movie with nothing on my Lifetime favorite? As an Android user I have no emotional connection with these people. Not to mention, you can tell that they are reading a script from their screen. I can’t believe these famous-ish people know that my life is like running an Android phone and hanging out in Apple land.
What’s the problem with iMessage?
There is indeed fragmentation in text messaging between the major mobile platforms. The Apple Messages app runs on the iMessage service for sending texts between the iPhone and other iOS-enabled devices. It supports end-to-end encryption, better support for group chats, and high-resolution images and videos. But when an Apple user texts an Android device with the default texting application, the message is sent as an old-school SMS or MMS message, which often detracts from the Android user’s experience of texting.
Google adopted RCS, or Rich Communication Services, to try to fix this dichotomy, and it’s already in use in other markets. RCS enables encrypted messaging, high-quality media sharing, and other advanced features such as large character limits and read receipts. If you have access to RCS on Android Messages and you’re chatting with another Android user, you already have access to some of these features. Such is the case with a friend who uses your iPhone.
Google has attempted to bridge the gap between iOS and Android Messenger, despite Apple’s repeated requests to keep it working. Emoji reactions, which were previously limited to iPhone users, became available earlier this year after the company added support for them on Android.
The fragmentation will continue until Apple wants to tie up with RCS. But Apple is committed to keeping its walled garden coffee And Get Up, because it helps sell its hardware, is where it makes the bulk of its cash. The iOS 16 beta already has iPhone-only capabilities to edit and delete delivered iMessages. That kind of feature is possible because of the tightly-knit nature of the iOS platform.
Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if this campaign fails as Android users have already moved on. Meta’s Messenger and WhatsApp have a strong market share, and many other messaging apps work with your phone number. Even I have moved on from Android Messages and spend most of my daily correspondence exclusively inside Instagram DMs.