The “green bubble” has become part of everyday vernacular – the term is so popular that it was featured in Drake’s 7th album Honestly, Nevermind, which was released on Friday. The third song is dubbed Texts Go Green and if you don’t know what that means, here is an explainer from an unexpected source – Google’s Android team.
— Android (@Android) June 18, 2022
The song refers to speech bubbles turning from their usual blue to green when the receiving user blocks you on iMessage. But there is another reason for texts to go green – an Android user joins a one on one or a group chat.
That often leads Android users to being excluded from group chats or even to bullying. Google has called on Apple to resolve the issue by adopting RCS on its iDevices. RCS is touted by its proponents as the successor to SMS, it has many features that we’ve come to expect from chat apps that just don’t work well over SMS/MMS.
Left: iMessage • Right: Messages sent over SMS appear in green
RCS allows users to send and receive high quality images and videos, to show typing indicators and read receipts, as well as reactions. It works over an Internet connection (cellular or Wi-Fi) and supports encryption. The proprietary iMessage protocol does those things too, but is available only on Apple devices.
When chatting with a non-supported device, the app switches to plain SMS for text messages and reactions and sends images and videos over MMS (which is an old protocol and compresses files to tiny sizes of a few hundred kilobytes). These messages appear in the dreaded green bubbles.
PS. Here is the song in question, Texts Go Green: