Earlier today Google announced a slate of new features coming to Android devices later this summer, and buried amongst the updates is news that the Google Messages app is finally getting support for end-to-end encryption.
While Google had previously left support for E2E encryption up to carriers who supported the RCS protocol, it seems Google has taken the matter into its own hands by implementing E2E encryption in Messages directly.
However, before you get too giddy about your newfound privacy, there are a couple caveats to the way E2E encryption works in Messages, at least for now. The first is that E2E encryption only works in one-on-one conversations, which means any group chats you have will remain unencrypted. The other hurdle is that E2E encryption only works if you have RCS Chat features enabled, which you may need to do manually by going into the settings menu in Google Messages, selecting Chat Features, and making sure the toggle switch next to Enable Chat Features is turned on.
If you did everything right, you’ll know E2E encryption is activated when a little lock icon appears below the send button in Google Messages (which you can see in the lead image above). And while Google still has a bit of work to do to fully support E2E encryption in Messages, this is clearly a big step in the right direction.
Google says support for E2E encryption will be rolling out to phones sometime “over the coming weeks,” so if you haven’t gotten the new features, sit tight and check back later.