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      I saw the headline and I was ready to post a comment on favor of SCCS.

      Now I’m sad.

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      Everyone I know has been on Telegram/WhatsApp for years, I really don’t see any interest in carrier-based messaging coming back.

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        Same. I’m in Europe, and know nobody who uses SMS regularly, or even iMessage.

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          Ironic how they brought that upon themselves by being so stingy with SMS pricing

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            You can also use stickers in Telegram, have group chats with moderation, have avatars, talk to people without giving them your phone number, and so on. It’s like IRC vs Discord. Even in a world where SMS was free from day one I don’t think it’d last.

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              That’s true, however SMS is still noticably more popular in NA than Europe. And also their greediness applies to MMS too, which had many more features than pure text but instantly died due to being actually more expensive than physical mail.

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            I did a calculation about 20 years ago that the price for SMS was over £500/MiB. It hasn’t changed very much unless you are on an unlimited-SMS plan. It was cheaper to send a fax to antarctica than send a page of text via SMS, the pricing was insane. On the plus side, the price for data is far more reasonable so even a protocol where the overhead for short messages is a few thousand percent is much cheaper than SMS. I’m using Signal for pretty much everything that I used to use SMS for and now that it’s basically free (it is free on WiFi), I use it a lot more. It also helps that Signal supports clients on multiple devices, so I can use the desktop app when I’m sitting at a computer with a real keyboard and only use the mobile version when I’m out. SMS is intrinsically tied to a single endpoint, which was fine in a world where people owned a single device but when people use a phone, a tablet, a work computer and a personal laptop it just doesn’t work.

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        It bother me that I must use telegram for one group, whatsapp for another and signal for the last one. Each of these messaging apps worked on an application rather than a standard. It looks like that is what RCS is, so if I could use a single app for all messaging, I’d be happy 👍

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      Whether RCS becomes the Apple/Android messaging divide healer, and ends the blue vs green bubble saga, depends entirely upon whether Apple adopts the standard for iMessage.

      Whether Apple adopts the standard depends entirely upon whether the product managers at Apple view its lack of support as a feature or a bug. If it is about nefarious social engineering for Apple/iPhone marketshare, iMessage lacking support for RCS is a feature. If it is about reducing overall mobile user pain, iMessage lacking support of RCS is a bug. Our messaging future likely hangs in the balance of some PM’s view of Apple’s real obligation (whether that is to Apple shareholders, or to the world’s mobile users).

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        We have proofs in writing (from Epic vs Apple trial) that Apple execs like iMessage having a network effect locking people in into the Apple ecosystem.

        Fiduciary duty means the choice of shareholders vs being nice to people doesn’t exist.

        Even if Apple implemented RCS (which I wouldn’t expect them to do), they’ll probably keep it having green bubbles out of spite.

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          Fiduciary duty means […] more money for the shareholders.

          This meme is my pet peeve. From the horse’s mouth (US Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision): “Modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not.”


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            The law might not require it, but there’s been plenty of activist shareholder lawsuits that a corporation would think twice before putting the good of consumers before profits.

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              Long term good of the consumer means long term profits, as opposed to being a flash in the pan.

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        Vendors with a closed network with high market share won’t willingly let it interoperate with other networks (open or not.) This happened with the previous generation instant-message networks, where well-meaning folks developed an open standard (Jabber) but the big players like Google, Yahoo and AOL wouldn’t adopt it in any meaningful way.

        Similarly, you don’t see Twitter or Facebook supporting ActivityPub.

        The only reason email has interoperability is because SMTP predates the commercial internet, and when all the “big” services like CompuServe joined the Internet none of them were big fish in this new sea, so they all gained by adding SMTP support.

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          The listed examples seem like odd choices since AIM did embrace Jabber for awhile and Google embraced it so hard that their contributions led to the A/V infrastructure we still use to this day (and forms the basis of what became WebRTC) and for so long that people were still using Google accounts for Jabber years after they should have moved to a more featureful implementation.

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            Once Google Talk gained critical mass, Google turned off federation. It was still using XMPP as a transport protocol but that didn’t matter to anyone because you couldn’t communicate with folks with non-Google Jabber accounts and so it was effectively a proprietary network.

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              Honestly, federation turned off way later than most think and before it went away what mostly happened is the Jabber network started rejecting Google because Google refused to use TLS with a valid cert on their federated links. If you ran your own server or used one that had a special case config for Google it kept federating long after most people had been saying “Google abandoned” federation for years. One the federated server did die the Google Talk product and brand had itself been dead for years and client connections still worked (and were used by many I know) for years after that yet.

              Google kills whole products and protocols on a regular basis, sudden death of popular features is kind of their rep, yet the Jabber servers they ran had the slowest death of anything I’ve seen from them. Definitely not just yanked out of spite.

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            They did support it as a client protocol, but never enabled federation. So you couldn’t follow or message an AIM user from Google Messenger or vice versa. The stated reason was to avoid incoming spam, but another reason was to retain their network-effect lock-in, i.e. “all my friends use AIM so I have to use it too.”

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      Lol the article says “Yes, it’s a lot like iMessage from Apple”. Which I guess is true from a consumer perspective. But the important thing is RCS is an open interoperable standard that many companies participate in. iMessage is Apple proprietary and one of the many tools they use to keep its customers locked into their systems.

      I switched from iOS to Android a year or two ago and iMessage was by far the most painful part of the change. At least Apple finally relented and implemented a way to remove a number from the iMessage tar pit. I still get complaints from iPhone users who try to message me… “why is it green? It doesn’t seem to be working?” iMessage was a great improvement over SMS in its day, shame that Apple is so monopolistic.

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        In Apple’s defense, they simply built something better than the piece of junk that is SMS, giving their customers much better features and end-to-end security. That it provides a network effect that encourages lock-in is a side effect that justifies the investment.

        That it took the industry ten years to come up with something comparable is kind of sad, although I’ve been around a few standards committees so I can understand why. It’s not like any part of this is particularly difficult, except for the crypto.

        shame that Apple is so monopolistic.

        Any for-profit company will be, in a similar situation. As I noted in my previous comment, Google, Yahoo and AOL acted the same way with IM, Ma Bell acted that way with phones, and today’s social networks won’t adopt open standards like ActivityPub.

        Being disappointed companies act this way is like being disappointed wolves keep eating bunnies. Wolves play an important role in the ecosystem, but they’re not pets.

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          Google’s approach with RCS is not monopolistic or lock-in. It’s an open system that relies on the cooperation of many parties. I’m under no illusions that choice is all altruism; it’s the business strategy that makes sense for Google. But it’s also good for users and should be encouraged.

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            Google’s approach with RCS is not monopolistic or lock-in.

            After they extended, embraced, and extinguished an open standard (XMPP) with Google Talk. And had many other failed proprietary services (Hangouts, Allo, Google Chat). However, their lunch was eaten by iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, because they couldn’t stick to a single IM (Google Talk was quite popular in the days).

            The only reason Google pushes RCS is that the only way they still have a chance to get a finger in the pie of any messenger is by pushing an open standard.

            But it’s also good for users and should be encouraged.

            Why would you trust Google after they adopted XMPP (an open standard) and killed XMPP federation once Google Talk was big enough? Why would you trust the carriers, who do not want to be simple pipes, but want to charge you separately for everything?

            This is an attempt of the carriers and Google to take back control, under the guise of an open standard.

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            Just like Apple’s direction is the business strategy that makes sense for them. But it’s also been good for users, who for the last ten years have had functionality unavailable with SMS/MMS, notably end-to-end encryption.

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              Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal are 3 apps that provide “functionality unavailable with SMS/MMS, notably end-to-end encryption.” But, all 3 projects have fully functional apps across Android, iOS, and web/desktop, with user bases measured in tens or hundreds of millions. iMessage is the only app of this kind that is a) bundled with a mobile/desktop operating system and b) not ported to any other mobile/desktop operating system other than the ones where it is bundled, despite there being many obvious user advantages to those ports. So I wouldn’t say iMessage has been “good for users”, at least not relative to an iMessage with even a basic Android port available, which would have cost Apple a rounding error of cost to produce.

              The behavior of Apple re: iMessage is not just a “business strategy”, it is a reprehensible lock-in strategy. At this point, it is behaving as social engineering to expand market share and reduce mobile platform diversity at a grand scale. It is also training a generation of young iPhone users to socially dislike certain friends/contacts on the basis of their mobile operating system, a form of large-scale fabricated user evil (whether intentional or not) that I haven’t seen in tech in a long time.

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                I fail to see how it’s reprehensible of Apple to not port an app to a competing platform. Is everyone required to support competitors this way now? Is Telegram required to integrate interop with Signal and WhatsApp to avoid the horror of lock-in? (Because that’s what we’re talking about in this thread.)

                The blue vs green bubbles thing is simply a visual indicator of capabilities, since messages sent over SMS lack a lot of features. That some kids want to play status games with that is depressing, though probably inevitable given what teenagers are like. But … “fabricated user evil”? Really? Did you know that Apple also brazenly stamps its logo on the back of its phones, just so kids can ostracize peers who don’t have one? Shocking!

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      I want to know how the PKI works for the end-to-end encryption. I suspect it’s going to be less secure than we’d like. PKI is the Hard Problem in any asymmetric cryptosystem.

      The best they’ll be able to do, I think, is a “trust then verify” system where you do a key-agreement the first time you message with someone, essentially trusting that their identity is who they say they are. This means either you’ll get confusing-to-laypeople security alerts on the first message and anytime thereafter that the person uses a new device or reinstalls the OS; or you won’t get alerts and will be clueless when some attacker forges their phone number but not their key.

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        How do you think are normal people using encryption in Signal and WhatsApp? Isn’t that the same?

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          Signal has that rigmarole about “unverified devices” and it sometimes resets conversations when someone gets a new phone (though maybe that was a bug.) I’ve seen this confuse smart people who are not techies, e.g. my wife.

          I haven’t used WhatsApp. But like iMessage it’s a closed system where you trust the administrator (Facebook) to manage people’s public keys correctly.

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            What makes Signals system more open than WhatsApp? Tbh I also haven’t used WhatsApp in a long while. iMessage requires an iDevice. WhatsApp is as openly accessible as Signal. Isn’t it? (Hugely different privacy, obviously)

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              Signal is very open source. Open clients, open protocols, arguably open servers.

              Whatsapp just uses the open protocol. Probably.

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                That’s orthogonal to the PKI though, isn’t it? Honestly curious. Don’t know how the keys are managed on WhatsApp.

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          Signal does a pretty good job by understanding that the main guarantee that people want from authenticated encryption is a guarantee that person X that I’m talking to today is the same person as person X that I was talking to yesterday. If you want to get a stronger guarantee that they’re the real person that you think they are, then there’s a QR code that you can scan from their phone to validate their public key (or you can send the key info out-of-band somewhere) but the UI doesn’t prod you to do this.

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            I know. Isn’t that effectively the same as RCS?

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      So far from what we’ve seen, the big issue is convincing carriers to adopt it.