GOOGLE is preparing a major update of its SMS app.
Google Messages app is getting a huge upgrade on Android phones.
This will be available first in the beta app over the next few weeks before being rolled out more broadly beyond that.
The headline change is that your RCS group chats will be end-to-end encrypted – which may sound like gibberish to you.
RCS stands for Rich Communication Services and is a system that is intended to replace traditional SMS texts.
It has some advantages, like the ability to send high-quality images and emoji reactions, and being cross-platform (although Apple hasn’t embraced it yet).
It is important that an RCS message, in contrast to SMS texts, can be end-to-end encrypted.
End-to-end encryption means nobody can read your text in transit.
When the message leaves your phone, it is encrypted.
And it can only be decrypted by the recipient who has the virtual “key” necessary to decrypt it.
So if someone snoops on the messages as they are transmitted, they will not be able to read the content.
Even Google or your internet service provider cannot read the content of the text.
Google Messages already supports encryption for one-on-one chats.
But the new update also makes this possible in group chats.
This is a major improvement in your privacy and blocks an important snooping technique.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear when exactly this will be available to everyone.
However, if you want the best chance of trying it out as soon as possible, consider joining the official Google Messages beta.
Google is making great efforts to push RCS as an industry-wide standard.
It puts significant pressure on Apple to introduce RCS to make it easier for iPhone and Android owners to chat with each other.
This is more of an issue in the US than the UK where WhatsApp is very popular.
In a blog post, Google suggested to Apple: “RCS is designed to work universally, so no matter where you live, who makes your phone, or what it’s running on, you can enjoy the same texting experience.
“And today, every major wireless carrier and manufacturer has adopted RCS as the standard—except Apple.
“Apple refuses to implement RCS and continues to rely on SMS for people with iPhones to text people with Android phones, meaning their SMS are stuck in the 1990s.”
Google added, “Hopefully Apple can #GetTheMessage so we don’t have to wait any longer to get rid of the whole green vs. blue bubble.”
“Happy Birthday SMS – you’ve been off to a great start and on a good run but everyone is ready for an upgrade.”
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9852611/google-messages-res-group-chat-encryption/ Google reveals millions of Android owners are getting a huge free upgrade that will change texting forever