Your Android phone just got a brilliant upgrade, but it should come with a warning

Android users are getting a nice update to the way they send messages.

Google has announced that it’s rolling out support for RCS (Rich Communication Services) across the United States. The free upgrade means Android users who text their friends and family using the Messages app will be able to send GIFs, images, videos, and more.

In a post on its blog, Google explained, “To make your conversations more seamless, we’ve worked on upgrading traditional SMS text messaging with more useful chat features, powered by RCS (Rich Communication Services).

“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.

“Plus, you’ll get better group chats, with the ability to name groups, add and remove people to and from groups, and see if people haven’t seen the latest messages.”

The latest update, which was rolled-out to the UK earlier this year, brings the Messages app more into line with iMessage on iPhone. However, the new RCS option should come with one big warning.

That’s because text messages sent using this new protocol are not end-to-end encrypted. That means they could be intercepted and read by a third party. And it’s not just text messages – it also applies to your pictures, videos, and everything else sent over RCS.

Most popular messaging services, including WhatsApp and iMessage have this security as default making it almost impossible to snoop on what’s being sent across devices.

Google Messages is already available in the UK, France, and Mexico – and now rolling-out to users across the United States, but it’s unclear when the technology will be available to Android users in other regions.

Speaking about when Android devices across the globe will get their hands on the technology, Product Management Director at Google Sanaz Ahari said: “Chat features are already available for some of you in Messages, and today we’re starting to broadly roll them out in the US.

“If you already have Messages, you’ll also be prompted to enable chat features in the coming weeks. If you don’t have Messages, you can download it on the Play Store. We expect this service to be broadly available in the U.S. by the end of year.

“Earlier this year, we enabled the ability for anyone in the UK, France, and Mexico to get chat features in Messages and we’ll continue to work on bringing this to everyone on Messages around the world.

“We’re also committed to working with our partners, including carriers and device makers, to provide a consistent and interoperable experience for everyone on Android.”