|Initial release||Android: 2014|
Wear OS: 2014
|Operating system||Android, web, Wear OS|
Google Messages (formerly known as Messenger, Android Messages, and Messages) is a text messaging software application developed by Google for its Android and Wear OS mobile operating systems, while it's also available via the Web.
Google's official universal messaging platform for the Android ecosystem, Messages employs SMS and Rich Communication Services (RCS). Starting this year, Google has RCS activated by default on participating Android devices, similar to the implementation of iMessage on Apple devices.
The original code for Android SMS messaging was released in 2009 integrated into the Operating System. It was released as a standalone application independent of Android with the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop in 2014, replacing Google Hangouts as the default SMS app on Google's Nexus line of phones.
In 2018, Messages adopted RCS messages and evolved to send larger data files, sync with other apps, and even create mass messages. This was in preparation for when Google launched messages for web.
In December 2019, Google began to introduce support for Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging via an RCS service hosted by Google, referred to in the user interface as "chat features". This was followed by a wider global rollout throughout 2020.
Initially, RCS did not support end-to-end encryption. In June 2021, Google introduced end-to-end encryption in Messages by default using the Signal Protocol, for all one-to-one RCS-based conversations, for all group chats in December 2022 for beta users, and for all users by August 2023.
Beginning with the Samsung Galaxy S21, Messages replaces Samsung's in-house Messages app as the default messaging app for One UI for some regions and carriers. In April 2021, the app began to receive UI modifications on Samsung devices to follow aspects of One UI, including pushing the top of the message list towards the middle of the screen to improve ergonomics.
In February 2023, Google began to replace references to "chat features" in the Messages user interface with "RCS". In August 2023, Google announced that Messages will use RCS by default for all users unless they opt out, to allow them to benefit from secure messaging. In December 2023, with the arrival of a slew of new features, the app was renamed "Google Messages".
Some of the most important features in Google Messages are:
- Send instant text and voice messages in 1:1 or group chat conversations over mobile data and Wi-Fi, via Android, WearOS or the web.
- End-to-end encryption for RCS chats.
- Typing, sent, delivered and read status
- Reply and react to specific messages
- Share files and high-resolution photos
- Voice message transcriptions
- Schedule messages
- In-app reminders for birthdays and messages you didn't respond to after some time with Nudges
- Tight integration with the Google ecosystem, e.g. Google Calendar, Meet, Maps, YouTube, Photos, Contacts, Assistant, Search, Safe Browsing etc.
- Web interface: The messages app can be used in a different device browser tab. To activate this feature, the user has to visit the webpage https://messages.google.com/web and scan the QR code that is shown on the web with the smartphone, by using that feature in the Messages app.
- Phone number recognition: The app shows the country and province of the caller. Additionally, it can show the company's name or a warning for spam calls if the number is registered in a data base.
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