Apple Messages has just received a number of new features with the arrival of iOS 16, and it looks like Google won’t be far behind in adding several significant updates to its own messaging app for Android devices.
some digging for 9to5Google (opens in new tab) revealed code that is in the Messages app but not yet activated – suggesting that these features are still being worked on and could be activated in the not-too-distant future.
One of the updates apparently in the works is the ability to reply to specific messages in a conversation, something you’ll be familiar with if you’ve used WhatsApp or iMessage. Soon, users will also be able to reply to a message with any emoji they want.
audio and images
That’s not all: it looks like Messages will soon give you the option to transcribe voice notes into text. In other words, you can get voice notes written for you if you can’t hear the actual audio clip – something not seen in many messaging rivals and would be a huge boost for Google’s messaging app as it continues to build. an attractive messaging app to attract new users.
Finally, there are also indications of a new gallery view appearing within the Messages app, switching to a vertical layout that makes it easier to access the image(s) you want to attach to your outgoing messages.
As for when all this will appear to users, there is no indication of any fixed date, but it shouldn’t be too long. It’s possible that Google will use the Pixel 7’s October 6 launch to make some software announcements as well.
Analysis: Google is not giving up on Messages
You’d be forgiven for being a little confused by Google’s messaging app strategy over the past twenty years. Messaging is the default app provided on Pixels and many other Android phones, which handles SMS and MMS tasks. It also supports RCS or Rich Communications Services, an update to SMS.
RCS is not a Google product, although Google is investing heavily in its development and adoption. It turns SMS into something more modern, with support for features like read receipts and media file formats (including the all-important GIF). Google is pushing Apple to support RCS, but we can wait a while for that to happen.
Then there’s Google Chat, which has replaced Google Hangouts. This is more like something like WhatsApp or Telegram and includes most of the features you would expect from a messaging app. However, it doesn’t support SMS or RCS, which is why Google Messages is still available.
These incoming features show that Google Messages and Google Chat will remain separate for the foreseeable future – it’s a little confusing for users, but we’ve been expecting this for the past few years. Also check out Google Duo, the video calling app that is now being merged into Google Meet.