Google has been working on RCS for a long time. The service is a competitor to Apple’s famed iMessage, and it offers a lot of iMessage like features. However, one thing that RCS lacks is a strong encryption for your messages. iMessage offers end-to-end encryption, so does WhatsApp, but RCS does not. So, if that has always been a deal breaker for you, you’ll be glad to know that Google is working to change that.
End to End Encryption in RCS
In a new ‘dogfood’ version of the Google Messages APK, 9to5Google has found code and strings referencing end-to-end encryption. It seems that Google is well on its way to bring end-to-end encryption to RCS in Google Messages. The report mentions that there are over 12 references to encryption in the code, including the following lines.
<string name=”encrypted_rcs_message”>End-to-End Encrypted Rich Communication Service message</string> <string name=”send_encrypted_button_content_description”>Send end-to-end encrypted message</string> <string name=”e2ee_conversation_tombstone”>Chatting end-to-end encrypted with %s</string> <string name=”metadata_encryption_status”>End-to-end encrypted message</string>
The company is also working on creating fallback methods for sending messages in case the internet connection isn’t strong enough. In such situations, it seems Google Messages will try to send your message via SMS. However, it will warn you that SMS is not encrypted before sending it. Moreover, 9to5Google is reporting that the app may also be working on additional security features.
Additional Security Measures for Google Messages
For example, it seems that Messages will give you the option to prevent other apps from reading your encrypted messages. That’s an interesting feature to have as well.
It goes without saying that there is no telling when or if these features will make it to the stable version of Google Messages. The features were spotted inside the dogfood build, so it seems that there is a long way to go. However, with features like message reactions being added to RCS, it’s obvious that Google is pushing RCS to being a true iMessage alternative for Android.