About a month ago, two friends and I kicked one of our closest pals, Mandy, out of our long-running group message thread.
No, we hadn’t gotten into some kind of big fight. She had gotten an Android phone.
The green bubble / blue bubble divide causes all sorts of problems. Throw a couple iPhone users into a group message thread with an Android owner and absolute chaos will ensue.
For the non-iOS person, messages will often appear out of order or not show up at all. And whenever my friend Mandy tried to contribute, her comments would send to the rest of us individually, instead of showing up in the thread. Confusion ran rampant and conversations stopped making sense. Not to mention that some of the emoji looked laughably different.
Instead of suffering through the mixed-up messages, my friends and I decided to break up – the three of us blue bubbles have one group and then all just message her separately when we want to talk.
Unfortunately, this is a common problem and using different phone operating systems can put significant strains on relationships.
For a little while, it looked like we’d finally get a fix. Leading up to Apple’s huge conference this week, rumors spread that the company would launch a version of its messaging service for Android, thereby fixing these communication issues once and for all. Forget Siri improvements: This was the one product I was really hoping for.
Well, it didn’t happen. And it probably never will.
An Apple executive told The Verge’s Walt Mossberg that the company is sticking to its iPhone-only stance in part because having a “superior messaging platform” that only works on its own devices helps sell phones.
Apple is a hardware company. As such, it has no incentive to give up one of the major hooks that keeps people loyal to the iUniverse.
I get Apple’s point of view on this matter, but it still sucks for my group of friends – and now that I know pretty concretely that this issue won’t change any time soon, I’ve decided to dive headfirst into Facebook’s chat app, Messenger.
With more than 900 million monthly active users, Messenger is a huge platform. Personally, I haven’t embraced it until this point mostly because I’ve had no real reason to switch (and because I hate how you can’t turn off read receipts).
But now that I know I should give up hope on an Androidified iMessage, it feels like the right time to try it out. Plus, interestingly enough, when Apple trotted out the new features for iMessage this week – including stickers and third-party apps – one of the recurring comments was how it now looked so much more like Facebook Messenger.
Even without Android, iMessage is goin to be more direct competition for Facebook Messenger. https://t.co/1K2ev1C8fB
— Harry McCracken ???????? (@harrymccracken) June 13, 2016
No guarantee how long my little experiment using Messenger will last, but at least I’ll be able to keep in touch with blue and green bubble friends equally well.