Google announced cooking the new Messaging Layer Security (MLS) standard into its Android codebase, which may result in us seeing the Google Message app getting cross-platform group messaging support one day.
Though Google Messages already has RCS support, it’s long been missing end-to-end encryption for group chats. Though Google added this support now, moving to a new standard may attract other industry participants to join and improve the ecosystem.
A New Standard For Cross-Platform Communications
For a long time, OEMs of most instant messengers have been refining their platforms to compete against each other but never worked on connecting with other platforms for the community’s good. But this all may change with introduction of the new Messaging Layer Security (MLS) standard.
Crafted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), this new standard offers end-to-end encryption for group messaging across different platforms. Termed the MLS specification (RFC 9420), researchers approved the measure in March and tested a draft version on Webex and RingCentral chats.
Touted as more secure than the current RCS protocol, researchers note MLS offers an “Asynchronous Ratcheting Tree” to make end-to-end group messages even more secure. And since the EU is also pushing for a system as such, it may persuade the instant messenger OEMs to adopt MLS.
Google is one of the companies proactively adopting MLS into its ecosystem, so we may soon see Google Messages supporting cross-platform group communications securely. Though RCS can do this now, a few companies, including Apple, have resisted using the protocol, thus making it partially useless.
Well, since MLS is more secure and not coming from Google, Apple may adopt this in its app suites, letting iOS users chat with their Android counterparts seamlessly. Though Google said it’s cooking the new MLS standard into the Android’s codebase, it didn’t mention when this would happen. Also, we don’t know how the new standard will work with RCS.