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Android users can finally choose precious blue bubbles

Google has begun to roll out the Google Messages update, which enables users to choose custom message bubble colours and backgrounds.

9to5Google reports the update previewed late last year is slowly rolling out to all users of the RCS-based communications app. Users will be able to select a “change colours” option within a particular conversation and customise the hues for messages sent, received and the background colour for the chat.

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The report said the changes only apply to messages exchanged within the RCS standard rather than SMS, so it won’t quite solve the issue for messages exchanged between iPhone and Android owners. At least for now.

The two-tiered blue and green bubble discussion has become a symbolic battleground in the last couple of years with Google aggressively pushing Apple towards embracing RCS messaging. That gives mutual benefits of delivery reports, read receipts, encryption and higher resolution videos and images when sharing messages across platforms.

Apple has somewhat conceded a change is unavoidable and plans to introduce support for RCS messages between iPhone and Android at some point this year (probably within iOS 18 this autumn), while iPhone-to-iPhone messages will continue to be conducted over the iMessage protocol.

In a statement last November, Apple said: “Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.”

True parity between the two messaging platforms is unlikely as long as Apple keeps iMessage locked down. The decision of the European Union to allow this suggests that will remain the case indefinitely. In the main, though, support for RCS should solve most of the beefs between the two platforms respective fans.

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