The Google Messages app already includes end-to-end encryption when messaging someone who also has the RCS chat features enabled. However, so far, this has been limited to messages between two parties and not group chats.
In an email sent to the press last year shortly after Google I/O, Google promised that end-to-end encryption for group conversations was in the works and slated to be rolled out soon, with the beta version of the Messages app getting the update first. This came to fruition last month when Google updated Messages Beta to include E2EE, thus making it an open beta.
Since then, very little had been known about how the rollout is progressing and whether it would reach all users in the Beta program — until today. According to a report by 9to5Google, Google has confirmed that it has “completed [its] rollout of group chat end-to-end encryption for users in Open Beta.”
This means that if you are enrolled in the beta program, you will probably have an update waiting for you that adds this capability. If you are not enrolled, you can very easily do so from the Play Store by navigating to the app’s listing and selecting the “Join the beta” option.
This news comes just as Google is ramping up its #GetTheMessage campaign targeted at educating users on the security risks posed by the old SMS/MMS standard and why Apple should consider adopting RCS into its messaging app. This campaign has yet to show any success when it comes to motivating Apple to make the necessary changes.
It’s good to see Google sticking to its guns and continuing to improve RCS and its messaging app. Although we have yet to see exact feature parity, the Google Messages app gets very close to recreating the iMessage experience, but only if you are chatting with other users on RCS. Let’s hope that eventually changes.