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Google Messages now encrypts RCS conversations by default

Google Messages now encrypts RCS conversations by default


The app encrypts group chats now, too.

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Google’s Brian Rakowski is onstage in front of a screen. The screen has a person holding a Pixel 7 phone behind the letters “RCS.”
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

RCS messages in Google’s Messages app will now be fully end-to-end-encrypted by default, Google announced on Tuesday. It’s a major change that keeps messages private from Google and the carriers, and it marks a big milestone in Google’s ongoing efforts with RCS.

Alongside Tuesday’s announcement, Google announced that group chats in Messages are now end-to-end encrypted as well. Google had promised last year that the upgrade was on the way. The company first started rolling out end-to-end encryption for one-on-one messages in late 2020.

Google has been pushing RCS for a very long time, especially as a way to compete with Apple’s iMessage and blue bubbles. For a long time, iMessage’s end-to-end encryption for all chats was a big differentiator over Google Messages, so it’s nice that Google Messages will finally offer parity on that front.

Beyond end-to-end encryption, RCS offers a handful of great improvements to messaging over standard SMS, including typing indicators, read receipts, and the ability to share high-resolution photos and videos. But despite Google’s best efforts, Apple still hasn’t adopted RCS — if it did, texting between Android devices and iPhones would probably be a lot better. Instead, Apple would really prefer that you just buy an iPhone.