Alphabet’s Google has started rolling out end-to-end encryption for Rich Communication Service. With this move, the industry giant is pushing text-messaging standard as an alternative to SMS.
RCS abbreviate for Rich Communication Service provides a better user experience than the standard SMS. Its key selling points are presence information, typing indicators, longer messages, location sharing, and better media support. They have also led everything to high-quality photos and videos, knowing when a message is read, sharing reactions, chat over Wi-Fi, and improved capabilities for group chats.
Last year, as Ron Amadeo, Ars reviews editor, noted in RCS interest that carriers have been tepid, so Google has been rolling it out with limited support.
On Thursday, Google said that they are now completed its worldwide rollout of RCS and are moving to a new phase. Over the past decade, their interest in E-to-E encryption has mushroomed particularly with revelations from Edward Snowden on electronic communications.
In the cases of snooping, E2E encryption is the antidote as it uses strong cryptography to encrypt messages which is unique to each user. End-to-end encryption cuts the accesses of everyone including the app maker, carrier, ISP, and three-letter agencies from reading a message as the key is in sole possession of each user.
Currently, there are only three messaging apps that provide E2E which includes WhatsApp, Signal, and iMessage.
For now, Google will provide its E2EE only to users which have the beta version of the Android Messages app. Even then, E2E will work for one-to-one messages and both senders and receivers will have to turn on chat features.
Google has provided technical details of the rollout which will continue well into next year.
In 2016, Google has introduced its Allo messaging app which also offered E2E, however, only while using dug into a settings menu. Today after two years, Google killed it. Google said that eligible conversations will automatically upgrade to be end-to-end encrypted.