We use messaging apps to feel connected, without the headache of needing to know what phone or network we’re on. That is why our focus with Messages by Google is to help you build connections. It’s also built around RCS, a modern messaging protocol that supports richer text features, higher resolution images and videos, and enables end-to-end encryption. With RCS, we can give everyone a secure and modern messaging experience. We continue to advocate for RCS across the industry so key players #GetTheMessage and make the experience better for everyone.
As RCS adoption accelerates, we’re doing what’s possible to improve messaging between Android and iOS, like adding support for reactions. This builds on a suite of features that you already love, like an organized inbox that separates personal and business messages, the ability to share sharper videos and scheduled messages. And we’re doing even more.
Here are 10 ways Messages is evolving with safer, smarter and more modern features.
1. Ever been in a chat where the conversation with friends is flowing and you’re catching up with tons of messages? Soon you’ll be able to respond to an individual message in a conversation when RCS is enabled, making it easier to respond to a specific message without breaking the flow.
2. Earlier this year, we started displaying emoji reactions from iPhone users on your Android phone. Now we’re taking a step further by letting you react to SMS texts from iPhone users with emoji as well. While RCS is the ultimate solution, we're doing what we can to help Android users have a way to consistently react to messages.
3. We’re making voice messages more accessible. Using machine learning, Voice Message Transcription auto-transcribes the message so you can access it with ease. Say you’re in a crowded space and get an audio message from a loved one: transcripts will let you “view” the audio like you would a traditional text message. In addition to Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, this feature is also available on Pixel 6, Pixel 6A, Pixel 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy Fold 4.
4. Reminders are now included directly in Messages to help you remember important moments without navigating across several apps on your phone. Remind yourself to call Mom on her birthday, or schedule that appointment during regular business hours. And if you save someone’s birthday or anniversary in your phone’s contacts app, you’ll get a gentle reminder about them when you open the Messages app.
5. You can now watch YouTube videos within Messages without ever leaving the app. So when someone sends you a YouTube link, you can quickly watch and respond without the hassle of switching back and forth.
6. If you are like me and always scrolling through messages endlessly to find the address that your friend sent you a while back, we got you covered. Messages will now intelligently suggest you “star” messages that contain texts like addresses, door codes and phone numbers to help you easily keep track and quickly find important conversations.
7. Sometimes texting is too slow and impersonal, so you need to get yourself on a video call. Messages will recognize texts like “Can you talk now?” and suggest a Meet call by showing an icon right next to the message. It will also suggest adding calendar events for messages like “Let’s meet at 6pm on Tuesday”, to help you stay on top of important events.
8. In some countries, we’re experimenting with a feature that lets you chat with businesses you found on Search and Maps directly through Messages, so all conversations appear in one place that’s searchable, private and secure. You can plan your next trip, score tickets to the big game and find deals from your favorite retailers — all without leaving the Messages app.
9. Messages work across your favorite devices, from your phone to Chromebook to your smartwatch. Try sending a message from your new Pixel Watch by asking Google Assistant.
10. Your messaging apps should work wherever you are—even in the air! That's why we partnered with United Airlines to offer messaging on United flights, when you have RCS turned on. It will be available on United WiFi for most carriers starting this fall, with broader support coming soon.
A fresh new look
We’re updating the Messages icon over the coming weeks to better reflect today's modern messaging experience and share the same look as many of Google's other products. It takes more than one side to have a conversation, and that’s reflected in the design, with overlapping messaging bubbles coming together as one.
Our Phone and Contacts apps will also be updated with the same look and feel to signal their shared purpose: helping you communicate.
Each is designed to adapt to Material You themes, so they can always match your personal style. And of course, we obsessed over every pixel to ensure these new icons are instantly recognizable as communication tools and accessible to everyone.
There’s more to come as we continue to build new tools and features into the app — all with the safety and security of Google. Download the Messages app on Google Play today to give it a spin, and try out the new features that will begin rolling out in the coming weeks.