With a muted announcement, Google announced the debut of end-to-end encryption on Google Messages: what it is and how it works
Last November, Google announced that it was working on introducing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) on Google Messages. The novelty, which aims to significantly increase the security and privacy of written exchanges, was first made available on the beta channel, in order to be tested and purified from the physiological defects of youth, and in these hours it is finally available for everyone.
End-to-end encryption is now making its debut for everyone, even for those who have downloaded the Google Messages app on the Play Store or found it pre-installed on their smartphone, and therefore belongs to the stable channel. When end-to-end encryption is enabled, no one can read the content of the messages, not even the service provider which in this case is Google: text and multimedia contents travel encrypted and the key to make them readable is kept exclusively on the sender’s device. and on that of the recipient. It is a system that WhatsApp and other famous instant messaging apps have been using for years, and that now Google Messages marries the strong Signal protocol used by the great G.
End-To-End Encryption For Everyone In Google Messages
The E2EE encryption requires that both the sender and recipient are active chat capabilities and the data connection or Wi-Fi to the Internet, in other words, can not be activated through SMS, MMS, and group messages, but it remains available when using the Google Messages web app and not just the app available on the Play Store.
When these requirements are met, then E2EE encryption is active for both existing and new conversations. There is also a visual check by which to understand in a flash if you are protected by end-to-end encryption: a padlock icon in the “ Chat with ” banner and also on the send message button.
Importantly, when end-to-end encryption is temporarily lost before sending a message, Google Messages by default waits for it to be re-established to send it. However, it is still possible to decide to send it via SMS anyway, but losing the encryption.
How End-To-End Encryption Works
The end-to-end encryption, as previously mentioned, transforms the text into an unreadable code, except with the so-called ” secret key ” which is only available on the two smartphones in conversation. The key is disposable, it is generated again at each message: it is deleted from the sender device when the message is sent and deleted from the recipient device upon receipt (after the text has been made readable again).
Each E2EE encrypted conversation also has a unique verification code that you can manually verify with the other person by tapping the menu, then Details, and finally Verify Encryption.