With numerous reports of hacking and other forms of cyber attack, getting an end-to-end encryption (E2EE) feature would definitely boost the security of online engagements. Meanwhile, users have been sharing in Twitter, Reddit as well as in various media outlets screenshots of Google's new E2EE feature, which is apparently available already for Google Messages on Android for beta testing.

Back in November, the tech giant announced to add its new feature for RCS messages, but since it is already on beta testing, we can expect the feature to be officially added on the app soon.

Google Messages end-to-end encryption on Android

Having an E2EE feature added to any mode of communication gives an additional layer of security to conversations as well as all files and messages included in it.

While security is the main goal of this feature, it also adds integrity, confidentiality, and authentication to communication. It also aims to enhance the user experience and ensure that security of all other messages in case one has been compromised.

While encryption is no longer new in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Messages, Telegram, Signal, and other apps, having it in Google Messages is a significant upgrade.

Google Messages switched from SMS to RCS messages as standard text messaging protocol. Which one is better? Well, the RCS is much better than SMS in many ways, but when Google created "Chat," the technology was finally had a widespread adoption as the universal RCS protocol. However, unlike other RCS protocols, the Chat does not have E2EE, which was a major setback, particularly to those users and advocates of privacy. They were only left that RCS would get more secured as SMS replacement.

Read also: Apple and Cloudflare Team Up to Strengthen Online Privacy Measures with New DNS

How to use use E2EE in Google Messages

Google Messages' E2EE is currently on beta testing, so those who want to check the new feature may try it out already on Android. All they need to do is enroll their account in the Google Messages beta program.

To enroll, just click on the program link and click on the "Become a Tester" button. Testers will get an update to the Messages app if it is already installed on the Android device.

Otherwise, users may have it downloaded and installed from Google Play. Although it may take a while to receive the update, it would be worth it since they may immediately try out the new encryption feature.

Once the update is done, testers may turn on the Chat feature in Messages. Just click on the three-dot button located in the upper-right of the screen and press "Settings." Then, choose "Chat features" on settings, and click on "Enable chat features."

Once the feature is activated conversations will show a padlock icon just after the "delivered" tag to show that the most recently-sent message is encrypted. The same can be seen on the "Send" button.

In case testers want to back out of the program, they may do so at any time. They can switch to the app's public version whenever the update is available. However, they need to uninstall the testing version. They need to wait for a few hours before they can download the public version from Google Play and install it on the device.

Meanwhile, Google Message's E2EE feature will only show up when both parties within a conversation have the app's latest version and if their mobile networks support RCS messaging. Otherwise, a link of the encryption will show up on the message.

As of the moment, all other conversations and group chats are still unencrypted, although it is highly possible in the future.

Related article: Google Messages App Might Soon Offer More Secured RCS Texting Through End-to-End Encryption

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Written by CJ Robles

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