Google may soon add end-to-end encryption for RCS

Make room, WhatsApp, iMessage, Signal, Telegram and all you other end-to-end encrypted messaging services – Google’s getting closer to elbowing its way onto the stage with its Google Messages.

Heaven knows when or even if it will happen, but 9to5Google has analyzed the source code of the latest update to Google Messages and found a slew of clues that strongly suggest that Google’s finally planning to add e2ee to the chat app’s rich communication services ().

What is RCS and why should you care?

The RCS protocol – popularly known as Chat – is the successor to SMS messaging and does what most other texting services do, but without the end-to-end of apps like Signal, et al. In December 2019, Digital Trends did a nice, deep dive into the protocol, explaining why it’s been developed by mobile phone manufacturers, carriers and the cell phone industry’s governing agencies, as well as why we’re all going to love it way more than the blah SMS texting we now have.

Here’s Digital Trend’s pithy explanation of the blah we’ve been putting up with since texting debuted:

Let’s face it: Text messages as we’ve known them throughout history (i.e., since the 1990s) are tired. They don’t support read receipts, group messaging, or the animated stickers your pals trade on apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. They rely on a cellular connection—which is restricted to places with a signal—and they stop you at 160 characters.

RCS, or Chat, on the other hand, allows group chats, video, audio, and high-resolution images. It already has much of the look, feel and functionality of rich messaging apps, such as iMessage. It also offers read receipts and enables users to see, in real-time, when somebody’s typing a reply to your message. You might already have it in the phone you’re now using.

Google Messages, for one, has Chat. It enables you to chat over Wi-Fi, without a cellular connection, to share higher quality photos (that are far easier to attach), and more – if, that is, whoever you’re chatting with also has Chat features.

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