Google's massive New Year billboard ad told Apple to fix 'pixelated' photos and videos in texts between iPhones and Androids

Google's massive New Year billboard ad told Apple to fix 'pixelated' photos and videos in texts between iPhones and Androids
Sundar Pichai (left) and Tim Cook.Getty/Insider Composite
  • A Google ad told Apple it doesn't have to "drop the ball" on fixing "pixelated photos and videos."
  • The ad is part of Google's #GetTheMessage campaign urging Apple to adopt the RCS standard.

Google is again publicly calling on Apple to adopt the RCS messaging standard, this time in a New Year-themed ad in Las Vegas.

The ad says, "the ball may have dropped on 2022, but you don't have to drop the ball on fixing your pixelated photos and videos," and follows with lines of RCS code "to get the ball rolling."

TikTok user Uptin shared a video of the ad which was displayed on a digital billboard at Harmon Corner in Las Vegas. Uptin made a note on the TikTok that an estimated 56% of Americans use iOS, while Android comes second with almost 44% of the market share in the US.

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First time I’ve even seen an ad for android and it’s going all out

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"This LED display demonstrates Android's focus to bring greater interoperability across devices, and enabling a great messaging experience across platforms," a spokesperson for Google told Insider. Google was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.

The latest in Google's pressure campaign against Apple over texting issues between iPhones and Android phones

Google launched its #GetTheMessage campaign urging Apple to adopt the RCS texting standard in August.


RCS stands for Rich Communication Services, which Google touts as "the modern industry standard," compared to SMS and MMS, which it has called "out-of-date" technology from the 1990s and 2000s.

In 2008, RCS was chosen to potentially replace SMS, which stands for Short Message Service, and it operates over the internet, not on a carrier's bandwidth. That means RCS is better for sending GIFs, high-resolution photos and videos, and group messaging.

In December, Google continued its campaign against Apple with a "happy birthday" post for SMS which turned 30 in 2022.

"While I'm all for nostalgia, in this case I also want to look in the other direction," Neena Budhiraja, group product manager for Messages by Google, wrote in the post. "Phones today are capable of so much more; my current phone is a completely different device than my first."

Apple did not respond to Insider's request for comment.


"From a Google perspective, we think every Android user should just have messaging over Wi-Fi," Sanaz Ahari, who manages Android and business communications at Google, previously told The Verge, adding that Android and Apple have "a lot of conversations."

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he doesn't hear many requests from Apple users to fix texting between iPhones and Android phones. In a September exchange with an iPhone-owning audience member who asked about issues with videos sent between him and his Android-owning mother, Cook said "Buy your mom an iPhone."

Legal documents from the 2011 lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games shed more light on how the company views iMessage, with one Apple executive saying "moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us."

People have long complained of the "green bubbles" that show up on iMessage when an iPhone owner and Android owner text, leading Google to serve Apple a taste of its own medicine with a recent update to its Messages app. Now, when Messages users react to an SMS text, the iPhone user will get a text saying the person reacted to their text with a description of the reaction, such as "liked" or "loved" a message, instead of seeing the thumbs up or heart appear on the message.

This story has been updated to include a statement from a Google spokesperson.