RCS messages in the Google Messages app will now be fully encrypted end-to-end by default. Google announced Tuesday. It’s a major change that keeps messages private from Google and carriers, and marks a big milestone in Google’s ongoing efforts with RCS.
Along with Tuesday’s announcement, Google announced that group chats Messages are now also end-to-end encrypted. Google had promised last year that the update was on the way. The company started rolling out end-to-end encryption for one-to-one messages in late 2020.
Google has been pushing RCS for a long time, especially as a way to compete with iMessage and Apple’s blue bubbles. For a long time, iMessage’s end-to-end encryption for all chats was a huge differentiator over Google Messages, so it’s good that Google Messages is finally offering parity on that front.
Beyond end-to-end encryption, RCS offers a handful of big messaging enhancements over standard SMS, including write flags, read receipts, and the ability to share high-resolution photos and videos. But despite Google’s best efforts, Apple has yet to adopt RCS; if it did, texting between Android and iPhone devices would probably be much better. Instead, Apple would really rather you just buy an iPhone.