Google Messages is the go-to messaging app for most Android users. It is pre-installed on many Android smartphones. And, on devices that aren’t, you can install it separately and set it as your default messaging app.
What makes Messages so popular among users is Google’s constant effort to update the app regularly in various facets, be it design or functionality. Moreover, the introduction of RCS on Messages a few years ago, in an attempt to make the messaging experience more attractive, also makes Google Messages a strong case for Messages on Android.
Continuing this practice, Google again announced a bunch of new features for the Messages app. Here’s an overview of all the new Messages features and how they affect your messaging experience in the future.
Reply to an individual message
One of the main features among the list of new Google Messages features is the ability to reply to individual messages in a conversation. It is available after enabling RCS in Messages.
With this feature, you can selectively reply to any message in a conversation without interrupting the flow. So, say, for example, if you’re exchanging texts in a group, you can now respond to people’s messages selectively to avoid confusing other group members.
As part of an update to Messages earlier this year, Google introduced the ability to interpret feedback from iPhone users.
With this update, whenever an iPhone user reacts to your message, rather than alerting you to the same thing in text, Messages now grabs the reaction, understands it, and adds an appropriate emoji reaction that matches in the exact sense of the reaction.
Now, taking things a step further, Google is adding the ability to reply to iPhone users’ SMS messages via reactions. Once the feature is available, if you receive a message from an iPhone user, in the form of an SMS, you can reply to it using emojis.
Reminders in messages
Google is bringing reminders to Messages to help you remember important upcoming events on your calendar. Basically, with this new feature, you can set a reminder to remind you to call someone or schedule an appointment.
Moreover, Google Messages will also intelligently detect events like birthdays or anniversaries that you have assigned to your contacts and remind you to wish them when you open the Messages app.
Transcription of voice messages
Voicemails provide a more emotional way to communicate with others and help you get your message across clearly and effectively. However, you cannot always use voicemail for communication; if you are in a crowded place or in a meeting, you’d better text.
Keeping this in mind, Google has added the voicemail transcription feature in Messages which helps you transcribe voicemails into text. It uses machine learning to transcribe the incoming audio message into text, so you can view its content, like a normal message, without having to play the audio.
Voicemail transcription will be available on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 series, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series and Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Star Posts You’ll Need Later
Until now, if you wanted to find a message in a conversation, you had to find it manually using search. But with the latest update to Google Messages, you can now star important messages to find them later quickly and easily.
Messages makes this possible by suggesting that you star a message whenever there is one containing an address, phone number or door code. You can then choose to ignore or feature it to make it easier to find the post later.
Quick video calls
Sometimes texting can feel impersonal and detached, and jumping on a video call can feel like a better way to communicate with the other person.
With this idea, when you receive a text from the other person to make a video call, like “Can you talk now?”, the messages will now recognize it and suggest a Meet call. It will show you the Meet icon next to the message, which you can tap to start a video call.
Likewise, if a message contains text like “Let’s meet on Tuesday at 6pm” to catch up, Messages will suggest adding a calendar event for the same so you don’t forget.
Play YouTube videos in messages
Google offers the ability to play YouTube videos in the Messages app. So now when you receive a message with a link to a YouTube video, you can tap that link to watch the video right in Messages and also reply to it without leaving the app.
Chat with companies
Chat with Businesses is a new feature in Messages that lets you chat directly with businesses you find in Search and on Maps in Messages. Not only does this provide a more private and secure communication experience, but it also allows you to view all your messages in one place, which you can return to when you need them later.
Make messages powerful to stay ahead of the competition
The addition of new features by Google aims to make messages powerful and stay ahead of the competition. While RCS in and of itself already sets Google Messages apart from other messaging apps, it’s nice to see Google adding new features from time to time to extend the functionality of the app even further.
Apart from the headlining features listed above, the Messages app also gets a few additions. A redesigned app icon for Messages is one of them, and Google plans to bring this new iconography to the Phone and Contacts app as well.
Another feature that won’t directly affect many users, but is a welcome addition, is texting while in the air. For this, Google has partnered with United Airlines to offer messaging services on United flights via United Wi-Fi on most carriers. It will be available with Messages via RCS on most carriers starting this fall.
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