Google has announced the global availability of RCS messaging, with end-to-end encryption coming soon.
Messaging is an area where Android has lagged behind Apple’s iOS ecosystem. Apple’s iMessage offers features that go far beyond basic text messaging, including the ability to send files, see read receipts, typing notifications and more. iMessage, like Signal and WhatsApp, also includes end-to-end encryption.
Google tried waiting for carriers to implement RCS, the natural successor to SMS text messages. Unfortunately, wireless carriers drug their feet, forcing Google to roll RCS out via Android. The company started with a rollout in the US, but have now made it available worldwide.
“Today, we’ve completed our global rollout of chat features to make this modern messaging experience universal and interconnected for everyone on Android,” writes Drew Rowny Product Lead, Messages. “Now anyone using Messages around the world has access to modern chat features either from their carrier or directly from Google.”
Rowny says end-to-encryption is coming soon.
“We recognize that your conversations are private and it’s our responsibility to keep your personal information safe. We’re continually improving security protections to safeguard your privacy and will be rolling out end-to-end encryption, starting with one-on-one RCS conversations between people using Messages. End-to-end encryption ensures that no one, including Google and third parties, can read the content of your messages as they travel between your phone and the phone of the person you’re messaging. This will roll out to beta testers beginning this month and continue into next year. Your eligible conversations will automatically upgrade to be end-to-end encrypted. End-to-end encryption is only available when both you and the person you’re messaging have Messages installed and chat features on.”
The announcement is an important step forward for Android messaging and will help customers enjoy modern texting features without having to use a third-party service.