A review of the latest update to Google Messages suggests that it may come with end-to-end encryption for RCS, according to 9to5 Google (via APKMirror). Rich’s communications services, or RCS, is the alternative to SMS messaging and does what most other texting services do, but does not have end-to-end encryption of apps like Signal and iMessage. Its widespread adoption is a bit of a hassle, but major US carriers announced late last year that they would offer RCS in 2020.
Google first announced RCS chat as the main Android texting platform in 2018, and in November, announced that it would actually release it to users in the US.
An internal build of Google Messages v. 6.2 has several lines of code that offer clues to possible future features for the app, including 12 new strings that reference encryption, according to 9to5 GoogleAnalysis. There is not enough information available to determine if the sender and recipient of texts in Messages needs to use the app for end-to-end encryption to be effective. The code updates suggest a setting that may allow users to decide whether to grant permission to other Android apps with access to messages to view encrypted messages.
There is no way to know when or when Google will send the end-to-end encryption feature. But the company said it had previously been working on it, so this is likely to happen.