Google has announced that it is introducing end-to-end encryption to group chats in the Google Messages app. The security upgrade will go to beta users first before being rolled out more widely.
End-to-end encryption means no one, not even Google, can read the content of messages. It’s already supported in the Google Messages app for one-to-one chats, but now (via The edge (opens in new tab)) it is also added to group conversations.
“End-to-end encryption is starting to roll out for group chats and will be available to some users in the open beta program in the coming weeks,” Google says (opens in new tab). “This shouldn’t even be a thought — just an expectation and something that anyone texting shouldn’t worry about.”
From SMS to RCS
In the same announcement blog post, Google revealed that the ability to quickly reply to a message with a random emoji is also coming to Google Messages soon. At this time, only a selection of emojis can be used as reactions.
In addition to a mention of these new features, Google also continued to work hard to make RCS (Rich Communication Services) the new standard for everyone – the technology, an upgrade to SMS, is now widely available, but has yet to be developed by Apple. taken over his iPhones.
Google’s post also acknowledged the 30th anniversary of text messaging, a milestone that highlights how old the technology is and how late we are now for a standard that can completely replace it.
Analysis: SMS should actually be a thing of the past
The advent of text messaging three decades ago helped transform the way we communicate with each other — even if messages were character-limited and many phones could only store a limited number of texts at a time.
Now apps like WhatsApp and Slack have taken us far, far beyond those limitations. Messages can be much longer and contain photos, videos or audio, and we can even see when recipients have opened the messages we send them.
It’s benefits like these that make RCS a worthwhile upgrade, improving messaging security and making features like group chats much better. Google didn’t make the standard, but it does advertise it a lot.
However, when an iPhone user texts an Android user, SMS is still the protocol used. Google wants this to change, but it’s unlikely Apple ever will – Apple knows that iMessage is one of the main reasons people stick with iPhones.