The Australian Government wants the ability to read everything about us, including your text messages and even wants companies to put back doors to encryption in their software so they can access it (mostly because they are stupid and don’t understand how encryption works).
Until the Government figure out that this is the wrong way to go about it there are various apps that offer end-to-end encryption to prevent snooping on your messages. Unfortunately at this stage Google Messages is not one of them but not for long.
According to an APK teardown in a Messages APK that is not available to the public (a dogfood build) Google are readying the app for end-to-end encryption. The Messages app, version 6.2.031, has certain strings in the code that Google is at least testing out end-to-end encryption with RCS in its Messages app.
<string name="e2ee_conversation_tombstone">Chatting end-to-end encrypted with %s</string> <string name="e2ee_fail_to_send_retry_description">Resend as chat</string> <string name="encrypted_rcs_message">End-to-End Encrypted Rich Communication Service message</string> <string name="encryption_default_fallback_body">"SMS/MMS texts aren't end-to-end encrypted. To send with end-to-end encryption, wait for improved data connection or send messages now as SMS/MMS."</string> <string name="encryption_fallback_dialog_accept_button">Send unencrypted</string> <string name="encryption_fallback_dialog_decline_button">Wait</string> <string name="encryption_fallback_title">Send unencrypted messages?</string> <string name="encryption_sent_fallback_body">"SMS/MMS texts aren't end-to-end encrypted. To send with end-to-end encryption, wait until %1$s has data connection or send messages now as SMS/MMS."</string><string name="not_yet_sent_e2ee_dialog_body">This message is still trying to be sent end-to-end encrypted to the recipient. You can also send the message as SMS/MMS instead.</string>
The app will also allow you to send your location via an end-to-end encrypted message and choose yourself whether other apps can access your end-to-end encrypted messages:
<string name="location_attachment_picker_send_encrypted_content_description">Send end-to-end encrypted message with selected location %1$s</string>
<string name="etouffee_to_telephony_setting_title">Let other apps access end-to-end encrypted messages</string>
While this is just in a beta dogfood build at the moment it is only a matter of time you would suspect until Google implement it into the public build. There are a lot of other options for those wanting end-to-end encryption so Google will no doubt want it in their Messages app as they bring RCS to more users throughout the world, trying to offer a decent alternative to Whatsapp, iMessage etc.
You can grab the Messages app from the Play Store but that won’t have the above experimental end-to-end encryption. To get that you’ll need to sideload the apk after grabbing it from APK Mirror. If you really want security for your messaging the go-to for most security-conscious people is the open-sourced Signal.