The Google Allo release comes just months after Apple s high-profile court battle with the US government over encryption built into its iPhones.
At its developer conference, the company announced that its new messaging app, Allo, would feature an incognito mode that offered end-to-end encryption.
The FBI had wanted Apple to rewrite the software on a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters to help it retrieve data.
Following that showdown, it was unclear if the tech industry would double down on strong encryption or begin to soften its stance.
Users will have to select an incognito mode and will have control over how long messages are stored on their devices.
End-to-end encryption can also make it harder for users to search through past messages going back into the distant past.