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After months of testing, Google has started enabling RCS for all users. The functionality was already available, but now the default setting is to be “active” for all users. Along with this has been added E2E encryption of group messages for Google Messages.
The functionality should be automatically activated for all new and existing Google Messages users. The option is disabled only for users who have previously disabled RCS.
In addition to the encryption of messages between two users that has been available since several years ago, with the new update Google will also enable encrypted group conversations. This requires that all participants in the conversation have RCS activated on their devices. Interestingly, if you try to deactivate this functionality, you will receive a message that you will be disconnected and will not be able to participate in group chats.
RCS or “Rich Communication Services” is a new standard for dynamic and secure messaging. The standard is designed to replace SMS and MMS which are currently still in use.
RCS borrows some of the functionality of modern text messaging apps. So users can see if their message has been read or if the interlocutor is currently writing a reply, it is visible. In addition, it is possible to share images, videos, audio files, various stickers and animated images (GIFs), as well as special effects for messages. RCS also supports group chats. Location can also be shared in messages. Perhaps most importantly, these messages are sent over Wi-Fi or mobile internet, not SMS.
How to check if RCS is active
The new functionality should be automatically activated for all users. If for some reason RCS isn’t activated, here’s how to activate it.
First, open Google Messages. In the upper right corner, click on your picture, or if you don’t have a picture set, an icon. Select “Messages settings” (“Messages settings” in Macedonian). RCS settings are first in the open list.
Activating RCS is first in the new options. If you see “Connected”, then RCS is activated. Setting Up means that Messages verifies the phone number. This may take several minutes. The last status is Disconnected, and this means that RCS is temporarily unavailable or has no internet access. Below the list are other functionalities available, such as sending a confirmation that you have received a message or an indicator that you are writing a message.
What is E2E Encryption (E2EE)
E2E encryption (E2EE) is a type of encryption that allows only the recipient and the sender to have access to and be able to read data intended for them. In this case, the data is never stored on third-party servers, and even if the attacker gains access to the server, he will not be able to read the communication.
Most of the services for exchanging text messages such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal have E2EE. Some email providers like ProtonMail have E2EE to protect users. Skype and Google Voice have implemented E2EE for their voice conversations.
September 17, 2023
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