End-to-end encryption is in development for Google Messages, according to a recent teardown.
9to5Google discovered several lines of code referring to end-to-end encryption through an internal, unreleased build of the app. It appeared on APKMirror, and 9to5Google immediately dug into the details and learned that Google might roll out end-to-end encryption in the near future. Google isn’t discussing the feature publicly, but end-to-end encryption remains an addition that users want in order to protect their privacy. Competing platforms such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp all offer end-to-end encryption to users.
It’ll target users who take advantage of Rich Communication Services (RCS). Android smartphones with the Messages app can activate Chat, Google’s RCS standard, to unlock a real-time typing indicator, large file transfers, and reliable group messaging. With end-to-end encryption, Chat on the Messages app will also encrypt a message and only decrypt it for the recipient.
Both users will need the Messages app, but Google intends to let other apps integrate its RCS standard to increase adoption. In situations where only one user has Chat enabled or a poor connection hampers capabilities, the Messages app will revert to SMS and MMS. Google will just remind a user that SMS and MMS messages aren’t encrypted before sending anything.
Google could introduce end-to-end encryption as a public feature at any time. It exists internally, and that might mean the feature isn’t too far off. The Messages app should also get iMessage-like reactions soon. So there’s a lot in store for the Messages app, but Google needs to actually push an update for users to get what they’ve long asked for.