Google Messages has completed its testing phase for group end-to-end encryption and has now fully implemented it. Additionally, Google is now making RCS the default option for both new and existing users, although some users might need to agree to their carrier network’s Terms of Service. This change includes those who had previously ignored the RCS setup prompt.
If you had previously disabled RCS explicitly, it will remain deactivated. Users can also choose to disable it at any time by navigating to the Messages settings and selecting the RCS chats menu.
This decision is motivated by Google’s aim to enhance security for a broader user base. The introduction of end-to-end encryption for one-on-one conversations was finalized in June 2021, with testing for group end-to-end encryption commencing in January. Once enabled, conversations will display lock icons to indicate the encryption status. All participants must have RCS enabled, and this encryption cannot be turned off.
Earlier, Google had added noticeable badges to designate RCS conversations on the Messages homescreen, distinguishing them from SMS/MMS chats. Prior to that, read receipts were introduced in the conversation list, with a clear reference to “RCS” rather than “chat.”
During the I/O 2023 event held in May, Google reported having 800 million monthly active users utilizing RCS, and they anticipate this number to reach 1 billion by the end of 2023. This recent development is expected to contribute to achieving that goal.