Google Messages Starts Rolling Out RCS End-to-end Encryption

Finally... but E2EE is only available in the beta channel currently

Google Messages has successfully landed the much-awaited Rich Communication Services, commonly known as RCS, to all users globally (unless you’re in China). RCS enables android users to bypass the limitations of the antiquated SMS text messaging.

With RCS, users can send and receive photos and videos, chat over Wi-Fi or data, tell when a message is read, share reactions, and enjoy more dynamic and engaging group chats.

The only limitation that made sceptics worry about the switch to RCS is support for end-to-end encryption. E2EE is popularly embraced as a security standard for messaging apps, and you’ll find it in your commonly used instant messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.

Now a new report suggests that Google has begun rolling out E2EE support, after announcing its commitment to improve security and safeguard privacy. The addition of E2EE means that texts or files sent over RCS will be guarded against prying eyes that may want to snoop on the conversation.

For a start, E2EE is only available on one-on-one conversations. You will know E2EE support is available on your end when you see a lock icon alongside the the “Chatting with [contact]” banner, next to timestamps and on the send button.

e2ee in chat
E2EE availability will be shown by the inclusion of a lock icon at various sections of the chat

Google, last month, promised E2EE would roll out to beta testers first starting last month “and continue into next year.” Before E2EE is enabled, both users must use the Google Messages app and have chat features enabled.

If you’re not in the beta program, you’ll have to wait longer before receiving E2EE support over Chat.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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