If you’re a Google Fi subscriber, the next time you phone someone your call may be protected by end-to-end encryption. The MVNO will start rolling out support for the privacy-minded feature to Android phones in the coming weeks. Once it’s available on your device, it will kick in automatically anytime you call another Fi subscriber.
You’ll know you’re about to make an encrypted call thanks to the special audio and visual cues Google has added to the phone app. A lock icon will appear on your screen as you’re about to be connected to your contact, and it will remain on-screen during the call. You’ll also hear a different ring tone when you’re dialing someone who has a compatible device.
If it wasn’t already clear, how much value you will get out of encrypted calling will depend on how many of your friends and family also happen to be Fi subscribers and they’re using Android phones. As things stand, there’s a chance you may never hear the ringtone that indicates your call is secure.
In that way, encrypted calling on Fi is much like RCS was a few years ago. It’s a protocol without support from carriers. If you’re concerned about keeping your calls private, your best bet is to look elsewhere. That said, it’s a nice-to-have and way for Google to differentiate its wireless service.