Google appears prepared to bring end-to-end encryption to RCS messages, helping it better compete with Apple iMessages.
RCS is considered the successor to basic text messages, offering a number of feature not possible with the older technology. Larger groups chats, read receipts, chat over WiFi, typing indicators, group management (adding/removing participants) and more. These are features Apple iMessages have had since the beginning, but only work when communicating with other Apple devices.
The one area where RCS has lagged behind, however, is security. While RCS does have encryption, it does not support end-to-end encryption, which is considered the gold-standard of protecting user privacy. Now, that appears to be changing.
According 9to5Google, APKMirror has discovered one of Google Messages internal “dog food” builds. The term “dog food” is used in software development to describe using your own product to find the flaws in it, before asking customers to use it—as in “eat your own dog food.”
There are a number of interesting features Google appears to be working on. Just as iMessages can fall back to SMS or MMS, Google Messages will have the same option. In an improvement over iMessages, however, Google Messages will warn the user that SMS and MMS does not support encryption when falling back to it. Similarly, Google will ask if a user wants to grant access to encrypted messages to apps that otherwise have access to standard messages.
Overall, this is a welcome upgrade to RCS messages, especially since Google rolled them out to all users in the US late last year.