Google reveals millions of Android owners are getting huge free upgrade that changes texting forever
GOOGLE is preparing a major update to its texting app.
The Google Messages app is getting a huge upgrade on Android phones.
This will first come to the beta app in the next few weeks, before rolling out more widely 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 it’s a system that’s designed to replace conventional SMS texts.
It has some advantages, like being able to send high-quality images, emoji reactions, and being cross-platform (although Apple hasn’t yet adopted it).
Importantly, unlike SMS texts, an RCS message can be end-to-end encrypted.
End-to-end encryption means that no one else can read your text in transit.
When the message leaves your phone, it’s scrambled.
And it can only be unscrambled by the recipient, who has the virtual “key” necessary to decipher it.
So if someone was spying on the messages in transit, they wouldn’t be able to read the contents.
Similarly, Google or your internet service provider can’t read what’s inside the text either.
Google Messages already supports encryption for one-on-one chats.
But the new update makes this possible in group chats too.
This is a significant boost to your privacy, blocking out a major snooping technique.
Sadly it’s unclear exactly when this will roll out to everyone.
But if you want the best chance of trying it out as soon as possible, consider joining the official Google Messages beta.
Google is making a huge effort to push RCS as an industry-wide standard.
It is putting significant pressure on Apple to adopt RCS so that iPhone and Android owners can chat with each other more easily.
This is more of a problem in the US versus somewhere like the UK, where WhatsApp is very popular.
In a blog post, Google hit out at Apple: “RCS is designed to work universally, so no matter where you live, who makes your phone or what it runs on, you can enjoy the same texting experience.
“And today, all of the major mobile carriers and manufacturers have adopted RCS as the standard — except for Apple.
“Apple refuses to adopt RCS and continues to rely on SMS when people with iPhones message people with Android phones, which means their texting is stuck in the 1990s.”
Google added: “Hopefully Apple can #GetTheMessage so we don’t have to keep waiting to remove the whole “green-versus-blue bubble” thing.
“Happy birthday, SMS — you were a great start, and you had a good run, but everyone is ready for an upgrade.”
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