Google Messages encrypted group chats are finally exiting beta, adding an important security feature for Android users.
RCS is the successor to SMS messages and offers similar functionality as Apple’s iMessage. Despite having end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in individual chats for some time, E2EE was noticeably absent in group chats. Google began testing the feature in beta in December, but it appears it’s finally going mainstream.
According to Android reporter Mishaal Rahman, the feature is showing up in the latest stable release of Google Messages:
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The news is a welcome improvement for Android users, bringing Messages that much closer to feature parity with Apple’s iMessage. Unfortunately, there’s still no support for RCS in iMessage, so texts between iPhones and Android devices fall back to the older, limited, less secure SMS.
Google has been trying to get Apple to support RCS as a fallback protocol. The move would have no impact on Apple-to-Apple communication and would only come into play in cross-platform situations. Unfortunately, Apple has shown no interest in adopting the protocol, saying users should ‘buy an iPhone.’