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Google Messages app starts offering end-to-end encryption for group chats

The feature is now available in beta, with a broader rollout expected not long from now.
By
December 2, 2022
Google Messages SMS stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google’s Messages app now offers end-to-end encryption for group chats.
  • The feature is available in beta right now.

Google is equipping its Messages app with end-to-end encryption for group chats. This means that no one except for you and the recipients can intercept group conversations — not even Google or any third party.

All group chats, including their text and any files or media, will be encrypted as the data travels between devices. Encryption converts this data into scrambled text. This text can’t be decoded without a secret key created on your device and the devices receiving the message. The process ensures no one has access to the messages shared in a group chat except for the parties involved.

For now, encryption in group conversations on Messages is available in beta. You’ll have to sign up to become a beta tester for the app to access the feature. It shouldn’t be long before Google rolls out the end-to-end encryption for group messages more widely.

Google added end-to-end encryption on Messages for individual chats in 2021, but its efforts to secure conversations on the app date back to 2020. The feature works over Google’s RCS (Rich Communication Services) protocol, so you’ll need to have chat features enabled in the Messaging app to take advantage of it. Regular SMS and MMS messages are not encrypted.

Once the feature is active in a conversation, you’ll see a banner with a lock icon in your group chats and a lock symbol next to the send button.

Elsewhere, Google also revealed that Messages would soon allow users to react to RCS messages with any emoji.