Send SMS Between Android and iPhones aren’t always the smoothest experience. Photos and videos are pixelated, messages from Android users appear as the dreaded green chat bubble on iPhone, and then there are emoji reactions. When an iPhone user taps the thumbs-up or heart reaction emoji, it doesn’t translate to Android, and instead it appears as a clunky text description of the emoji.
Google has tried to address some of these issues, despite facing the never-ending challenge of Apple joining. This week, Google said updates to Messages will allow Android users to reply to iPhone text messages with emojis. Other updates include the ability to chain replies to individual messages, embed YouTube videos directly into messages, and get automatic voicemail transcriptions on select phones. It’s a concerted effort by Google to make messaging on Android more appealing and pressure Apple to get it halfway there.
The technical point of contention here has been Rich Communications Services, a messaging standard that Google has been pushing its partners to adopt over the past year. RCS handles attachments and media better than the SMS standard which has been the standard in messaging for decades. The thing is, Apple has its own messaging standard between iPhones and other Apple devices, and then defaults to SMS when an iPhone user and an Android user exchange messages. And Apple has expressed no interest in moving to RCS. Thus, many messages get lost in translation between platforms.
Last month, Google made a public call for Apple to change its standards so that iOS Messages work well with Android devices. But after Apple CEO Tim Cook’s scathing rejection of the idea, the standoff between the tech giants continues. At least Android users, or those considering switching, are getting slightly better messaging with this latest update.
Here’s some other gadget news.
Come and take a fantastic trip… advertising?
Anyone who’s ever ridden in a New York cab has seen their fair share of looping commercials, which over the years have evolved from “Taxi TV” to direct programmatic advertising. So it seems inevitable that ride-sharing services like Uber will want to capitalize on all that quiet, peaceful passenger downtime and fill your ride with advertisements.
Uber has tinkered with advertising during rides before, such as when it added taxi-style billboard advertising on top of cars in 2020. But in a press release this week, Uber laid out its plans for ” capture the attention of consumers” by showing them advertisements. during almost every stage of an Uber interaction. Uber users can expect audio ads to play while waiting for a ride and during the ride. The company also plans to display prominent ads on the Uber Eats app, send out sponsored emails, and run even more video ads on in-car tablets.
Remember folks, it’s not about the destination; this is how much you buy during the trip.
Sharing is caring, unless you’re Netflix
In other dark news from the land of capital extraction, Netflix is about to start charging for all those extra users who siphon off someone’s account. This week, Netflix announced that it would finally put an end to the sharing of its identifiers. The price will be $4 per head for each additional account that is not accounted for in the same house. Netflix has been testing the crackdown since March, but not in the United States. But soon, it seems, it will be platform-wide. Netflix said the new policy will take effect in 2023.
As if to anticipate the decision, Netflix announced earlier this week that it will now allow you to turn a sub-account into its own paid account. You’ll have to splurge on the full monthly fee, but at least it’ll keep your watch history and preferences intact.