In line with its goal to make RCS the next big thing to replace text messaging services in the US, Google has added support for end-to-end encrypted group chats on the Google Messages app, and that too for a group of 100 persons on your Samsung Galaxy or other Android phones.
Previously, Google Messages introduced end-to-end encryption for group conversations having 21 members. Now, the limit has been increased to 100 users. End-to-end encryption came to Google Messages for 1-to-1 conversations in June 2021. Until now, if you added more than 20 people (excluding you) to a group chat, Google Messages would disable the end-to-end encryption (E2EE) feature automatically. Moreover, there wasn’t a way to enable it manually.
Google Messages is now ahead of iMessage in group chat encryption
The lock icon on the “Send” button, which symbolizes end-to-end encryption in Google Messages, would also disappear, suggesting that E2EE has been turned off. But now, with 100 people in a group chat, all of your conversations will remain private and secure.
However, do note that Google Messages’ end-to-end encryption for 100-person group chats is limited to the beta channel for now. It is expected to roll out via the stable channel in the coming weeks. Once the feature is available, end-to-end encryption will be enabled by default.
As per a screenshot shared by Esper’s Mishaal Rahman, the Group details page will show a detailed explanation — that “this conversation is end-to-end encrypted” — when the feature is on. This feature puts Google Messages ahead of iMessage, which features end-to-end encryption support for a maximum of 32-person group chats. The Signal app is way ahead in this race, though, as it offers E2EE for groups with up to 1,000 members.