Google appears to be working on end to end encryption for RCS (Rich Communication Service) in Google Messages.

The new feature was unearthed in a leaked internal APK by 9to5Google who discovered strings which suggest end to end encryption is being worked on which include:

  • <string name=”encrypted_rcs_message”>End-to-End Encrypted Rich Communication Service message</string>
  • <string name=”send_encrypted_button_content_description”>Send end-to-end encrypted message</string>
  • <string name=”e2ee_conversation_tombstone”>Chatting end-to-end encrypted with %s</string>
  • <string name=”metadata_encryption_status”>End-to-end encrypted message</string>

Other strings reveal that in areas with poor internet connection the Messages app will fall back to regular SMS and MMS messages, but will warn users that this is the case:

  • <string name=”e2ee_fail_to_send_retry_description”>Resend as chat</string>
  • <string name=”encryption_fallback_title”>Send unencrypted messages?</string>
  • <string name=”encryption_default_fallback_body”>”SMS/MMS texts aren’t end-to-end encrypted.\n\nTo send with end-to-end encryption, wait for improved data connection or send messages now as SMS/MMS.”</string>
  • <string name=”encryption_fallback_dialog_accept_button”>Send unencrypted</string>
  • <string name=”encryption_fallback_dialog_decline_button”>Wait</string>
  • <string name=”encryption_sent_fallback_body”>”SMS/MMS texts aren’t end-to-end encrypted.\n\nTo send with end-to-end encryption, wait until %1$s has data connection or send messages now as SMS/MMS.”</string>

Lastly the Messages app will give user the option of keeping their encrypted RCS messages private on the phone (from the Your Phone app for example), keeping sensitive data on your phone.

  • <string name=”etouffee_to_telephony_setting_title”>Let other apps access end-to-end encrypted messages</string>
  • <string name=”location_attachment_picker_send_encrypted_content_description”>Send end-to-end encrypted message with selected location %1$s</string>

It was recently revealed that Google is working on iMessage-like reactions for RCS messages, and end to end encryption is another feature the company will need to add to catch up to the ubiquitous iPhone messaging service. Both features are yet to arrive in the mainstream app, and it is not known when this will be the case.

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