Google to give end-to-end encrypted RCS messaging service in your Android smartphone and break WhatsApp monopoly
Over the years, WhatsApp has emerged as the top instant messaging app for Android smartphones. So much so that nobody uses SMS for texting nowadays. It is to WhatsApp’s credit that it popularized messaging using the Internet and a shift from network-based SMS. Starting from humble text messaging in the 2000s as an alternative to SMS, WhatsApp has now emerged as the top messaging client with video calls, audio calls, rich messaging, and more features. The most outstanding feature of WhatsApp is its trademark end-to-end encryption.
The messaging wars have begun and now for the first time in a decade WhatsApps monopoly is under threat from Google. Google is rolling out a feature called Rich Communication Services (RCS), an online protocol to replace traditional SMS messaging.
The RCS has already been implemented in the United States last year and was a success. Now, after the initial rollout, Google is working on adding end-to-end encryption to its RCS Messages. End to end encryption means that your message can’t be hacked or ready by anybody including the network and the government.
An internal build of Google Messages v. 6.2 has several lines of code that offer clues to possible future features for the app, including 12 new strings that refer to encryption. The updated RCS could provide a secure cross-platform alternative to WhatsApp, FB Messenger, iMessage, and Signal and could spell trouble for WhatsApps popularity.
What is Rich Communication Services (RCS)
Rich Communication Service or RCS is a communication protocol between two mobile telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is richer and can transmit in-call multimedia. Right now you can only send text messages to SMS and multimedia through MMS. The RCS combines both of these and provides an extra layer of security with end-to-end encryption.
Today, when you and your friends message each other with these chat features, you can chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data, send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, and see if people have received your latest messages. In case if you use RCS, you will get the same features in your default text message service.
Google has also enabled RCS features for all Android smartphone users in the UK, France, and Mexico to get chat features in Messages.