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US carriers kill Google's RCS messaging initiative

emag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,852
Update November 14:

Google stands up to the carriers and enables RCS for all US Android users, bypassing carrier servers and CCMI.




Original Post:


In short, Google/Android's last best hope for an iMessage equivalent have been dashed. (This is after Hangouts/Allo/etc. were laid to rest.)

RCS was meant to be a global upgrade for SMS messaging, but had seen miniscule adoption by carriers (both worldwide and in the US). Recently, Google stated that it would activate RCS messaging on its own in countries where carriers failed to do so, starting with France and the UK. Apparently in response, the four major US carriers yesterday announced they'd come up with their own new system, CCMI, which is "based" on RCS, and will preinstall a new CCMI app on all [Android] phones they sell.

In their press release, the carriers state they welcome Google, Apple, and manufacturers to join in the new CCMI system, which offers the benefit of greater monetization opportunities (for the carriers). Whether this translates to access fees, spam, or in-app advertising is unclear. What is clear, though, is that RCS is dead in the US (and probably worldwide) unless Google takes drastic action (that it should have taken years ago).

[Before bubble-Era says "just use WhatsApp/Signal/WeChat/FB Messenger/Line/etc.," note that even each of those platforms is incompatible with the others, doesn't work with most automated systems, and has awful reach -- fragmentation is a major concern on a worldwide (or US-wide) scale. And iMessage isn't available on Android.]
 
Last edited:

Shodan14

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,949
[Before bubble-Era says "just use WhatsApp/Signal/WeChat/FB Messenger/Line/etc.," note that even each of those platforms is incompatible with the others, doesn't work with most automated systems, and has awful reach -- fragmentation is a major concern on a worldwide (or US-wide) scale.]
As long as we all understand that iMessage has the exact same problems in addition to having even less market share than most of the ones mentioned here.
 

DBT85

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,542
Why do I care about frsgmentstion or use on an automated scale?

Everyone I know uses WhatsApp including everyone with iPhones.
 

Cheebo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,262
Ann Arbor, MI
As long as we all understand that iMessage has the exact same problems in addition to having even less market share than most of the ones mentioned here.
iMessage doesn't have the same problem as them. 90% of iMessage users have no idea there is a difference between iMessage and texts as it is seamless in the texting app.

All of those require downloading a separate third party app and dont seamlessly function with SMS texting.

How iMessagee is seamless on the front-end for users is a major element of why no one in America uses WhatsApp.

This element of iMessage is what Google was trying to replicate.
 

Shodan14

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,949
iMesssage doesn't have the sam problem as them. 90% of iMessage users have no idea there is a difference between iMessage and texts as it is seamless in th texting app.

All of those require downloading a separate third party app and dont seemesly function with SMS texting.
Except it only works on Apple products..
 

LuigiMario

Member
Oct 28, 2017
988
Remember when the FCC forced AIM to allow for interoperability on other platforms? I feel like this is long overdue for mobile messaging. Too bad the 2019 FCC is completely toothless.
 
OP
OP
emag

emag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,852
As long as we all understand that iMessage has the exact same problems in addition to having even less market share than most of the ones mentioned here.
The iMessage app has SMS fallback, which means that it (as an app) can be used to contact virtually anyone with a cell phone worldwide and can work with automated systems. That's how RCS was meant to work as well. It's true that the iMessage protocol features won't be available in such situations, but at least basic communication is possible. Also, full iMessage has by far the greatest reach of any messaging system in the US (besides SMS) -- only Facebook Messenger comes close.

Why do I care about frsgmentstion or use on an automated scale?

Everyone I know uses WhatsApp including everyone with iPhones.
WhatsApp has around a 10% install share in the US. In many other countries, it's even lower. It might work for you and your circle, of course.
 

Cheebo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,262
Ann Arbor, MI
Except it only works on Apple products..
Having to download a third party app and used separately from texting is why no one in America uses WhatsApp and why it was dead on arrival.

Google was working on replicating what made iMessage a hit and avoiding what made WhatsApp a failure domestically.

The fact that is was seamless meant Apple users never have to worry about whether the person has an iPhone or the right app.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,357
Most of the people I know use Whatsapp and gamers use Discord.

So fucking whatever. The automated systems thing does sound like a problem but eh.
 

Cheebo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,262
Ann Arbor, MI
I don't talk to anyone in the US.

Honestly baffling to me that the US is still so entrenched in sms and nothing has bridged the void between android and iPhone.
iMessage *did* bridge the divide for Apple users. As it is seamless on the iPhone end and allows contact with no juggling of any other apps or services no matter the phone of the other person.

Due to this it was literally impossible to convince Apple users to use a service that is far inferior on their end like WhatsApp which means WhatsApp was dead on arrival here.
 

Joni

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,360
With a couple of billion users, I think I'm fine with WhatsApp. Anybody not on WhatsApp is just out of luck.
 

Maple

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,156
So they told Google to take a hike and then got together and built their own solution.

And these are the same companies selling your location data to 3rd parties. Now they want to own your text conversations as well.
 

Slime

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,766
On the plus side, at least it was someone other than Google killing a Google service for once
 

snacknuts

The Fallen
Nov 1, 2017
3,051
At this point, is there anything preventing Google from just flipping the switch on RCS in US like the did in the UK/France? They don't have to worry about incurring the wrath of the carriers anymore.

90% of iMessage users have no idea there is a difference between iMessage and texts as it is seamless in the texting app.
Cool, then I don't have to hear anymore about green bubble bullshit.
 

Arc

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,699
I can totally believe that people on Era would hate Facebook and then use WhatsApp. iMessage is the reason I went back to iPhone, it’s as smooth as butter. I don’t see a point to WhatsApp.
 

Shodan14

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,949
but falls back to SMS/MMS, just like RCS and unlike all of those other services listed
The iMessage app has SMS fallback, which means that it (as an app) can be used to contact virtually anyone with a cell phone worldwide and can work with automated systems. That's how RCS was meant to work as well. It's true that the iMessage protocol features won't be available in such situations, but at least basic communication is possible. Also, full iMessage has by far the greatest reach of any messaging system in the US (besides SMS) -- only Facebook Messenger comes close.
Losing RCS sucks, but pretending that iMessage is some revolutionary technology is stupid when you can just send an SMS to begin with.
Having to download a third party app and used separately from texting is why no one in America uses WhatsApp and why it was dead on arrival.

Google was working on replicating what made iMessage a hit and avoiding what made WhatsApp a failure domestically.

The fact that is was seamless meant Apple users never have to worry about whether the person has an iPhone or the right app.
Doesn't seem to be much of a problem outside of America. Why is America special in this regard?
 

Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,786
They didn't kill RCS, the proposal is literally a cross-carrier organization for RCS compatibility. They are just pushing a separate app.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,810
Doesn't seem to be much of a problem outside of America. Why is America special in this regard?
I'm getting mad vibes of a recent thread about contactless payments and why America is so special that they haven't implemented it yet, despite it being no problem for mostly everywhere else.

I assume Cheebo knows you can buy an iPhone in other parts of the world.
 

DUFFMCWALIN

Member
Oct 29, 2017
507
Eugene, OR
I really hate all of the fucking WhatsApp posts in these threads. Users shouldn't have to download a third party app (owned by Facebook) to get the benefits of something like RCS.
 

finalflame

Product Management
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,836
WhatsApp usage even in Western Europe and Latin America is only in the 50-70% range. There are huge swaths of the globe where it's below 10%.
Latin America is closer to 80-90% usage, not 50-70%. For a sample of Western Europe, it's 81% usage in Italy.


You vastly underestimate the global ubiquity of WhatsApp. It has > 2bn MAU (probably closing in on 3bn soon) globally. The entire internet-using population is around 4bn.

With that said, people in the U.S. will not adopt WhatsApp. Apple had the foresight to do iMessage, and now other ecosystems are catching up.
 

Cheebo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,262
Ann Arbor, MI
I'm getting mad vibes of a recent thread about contactless payments and why America is so special that they haven't implemented it yet, despite it being no problem for mostly everywhere else.

I assume Cheebo knows you can buy an iPhone in other parts of the world.
USA has pretty much always had free SMS. Rest of the world didn’t. Which is what lead to the adoption of WhatsApp before iMessage was a major alternative to iMessage.
 

Shodan14

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,949
I'm getting mad vibes of a recent thread about contactless payments and why America is so special that they haven't implemented it yet, despite it being no problem for mostly everywhere else.

I assume Cheebo knows you can buy an iPhone in other parts of the world.
I don't know, imagine those poor souls having to manually install CoCotalk in Korea or Whatsapp in Europe just to communicate with their friends and loved ones.
USA has pretty much always had free SMS. Rest of the world didn’t. Which is what lead to the adoption of WhatsApp before iMessage was a major alternative to iMessage.
What's the problem with just sending SMSes on Android phones in the US again?
 
OP
OP
emag

emag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,852
They didn't kill RCS, the proposal is literally a cross-carrier organization for RCS compatibility. They are just pushing a separate app.
CCMI is also a separate protocol. The level of compatibility with RCS as a protocol remains to be seen, but from the press release and subsequent interview, the CCMI implementation will not be compatible with existing RCS apps such as Google's Messages.
 

sangreal

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,640
Losing RCS sucks, but pretending that iMessage is some revolutionary technology is stupid when you can just send an SMS to begin with?
Who is pretending that? You're the one who singled out iMessage from OP's comment on all services

At any rate, your counter of "you can just send an SMS to begin with" doesn't make any sense in the context of iMessage, and that is the point. Neither the sender nor recipient need to worry about whether the other has iMessage. You don't "send an SMS" versus "send an iMessage" or something
 

Shodan14

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,949
Who is pretending that? You're the one who singled out iMessage from OP's comment on all services

At any rate, your counter of "you can just send an SMS to begin with" doesn't make any sense in the context of iMessage, and that is the point. Neither the sender nor recipient need to worry about whether the other has iMessage
Apparently most people in this thread. The "worrying" about it seems like a uniquely American problem driven by the national inability to install specific apps? If sending SMSes is free, who cares if you know whether you're sending one or not? Like, I don't get it.
 

Cheebo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,262
Ann Arbor, MI
I don't know, imagine those poor souls having to manually install CoCotalk in Korea or Whatsapp in Europe just to communicate with their friends and loved ones.

What's the problem with just sending SMSes on Android phones in the US again?
There is no problem. That’s part of why nobody here uses WhatsApp.

iPhone users have iMessage. And most android users are happy enough with SMS.
 
OP
OP
emag

emag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,852
Which is my point. It's a "problem" that doesn't really need to be "solved".
It would be nice to have a default app that has guaranteed in-order delivery, high-resolution attachments, read/typing indicators, group controls, etc., that is also backwards compatible with what everyone else uses.
 

Nerfgun

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,445
imagine giving your entire message history to Facebook instead of an iPhone’s secure enclave

*sent with lasers*