This past Friday, Drake released his seventh studio album, Honestly, Nevermind, after announcing its existence just hours earlier. The album leaves the listener with lots to unpack — it’s unlike any of his other works — and our friends at Google have decided to use the discourse around Honestly, Nevermind to their own effects.
Just a day and a half after the album’s release, the official Android Twitter account posted an “unofficial lyric explainer video” about the album’s third track, “Texts Go Green.” The song’s lyrics are clearly about Drake’s relationship regrets, but Google just had to go and make it about Apple’s refusal to open up its proprietary messaging system.
“The Android team thinks Drake’s new song ‘Texts Go Green’ is a real banger,” the video begins. It then explains that Drake’s iMessage bubbles are turning green because his ex blocked his number — and notes that this also happens when an iPhone user texts someone who doesn’t have an iPhone.
“Either way it’s pretty rough,” the video says. “If only some super talented engineering team at Apple would fix this.”
The petty war continues — This move, while certainly eyebrow-raising, is not the least bit surprising coming from Google. The company has been even more openly disdainful of Apple’s iMessage platform than usual this year. In January, for example, a senior vice president at Apple tweeted that the blue message bubbles are essentially a method of “peer pressure” and “bullying” used to sell products.
There is some truth hiding beneath these barbs. Apple is well-known for its “walled garden” that attracts users and then makes it difficult for them to quit the company’s ecosystem. And yes, iMessage is a pivotal aspect of this strategy.
This being said, public acts of pettiness are not affecting any change over at Apple. If anything, this video is just free marketing for Drake’s new album.
Might not matter what Apple wants — If Apple does ever open up its messaging services to other phone-makers, Google asking it do so won’t be the impetus. More than likely it’ll be a regulatory body that makes that happen. The European Union has its sights set on Apple’s walled garden, for example, and new legislation could force Apple to open up iMessage as soon as this year.
The @Android account suggests in its video that Apple should adopt the RCS protocol to solve everyone’s issues. Even if Apple did so, iMessages sent to blocked numbers would still turn green. That wouldn’t even solve Drake’s problem.