Google Introduces Long-Awaited Features to Google Messages

Google Introduces Long-Awaited Features to Google Messages

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Like most Google apps, Google Messages is testing numerous features. However, Google often takes a long time to officially launch these capabilities even after announcing them.

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Update 3/25: Profiles now allow you to set the name and picture that other users see in the conversation. If the person you’re chatting with sets a profile, that will be the image you see within Google Messages from now on, replacing any manually added contact photos. However, Google won’t override the contact name you’ve assigned.

This rollout initially began in mid-November for some users under Messages settings > Advanced options > Profile sharing.

As of last week, this feature has become more widely available, with most people noticing the changed contact images in RCS conversations.

Google Introduces Long-Awaited Features to Google Messages

Update 3/15: Earlier this week, the Custom Bubbles feature was released to a larger number of beta users. It’s not widely available in a stable state yet.

Alongside “Change colors” in the full conversation menu, accessible from the contact details page, this is not available for SMS conversations, only RCS.

You’ll see a user interface to choose from nine options: Default (the material you use for dynamic color accents), Blue, Magenta, Green, Gray, Orange, Pink, Purple, and Teal. Your conversation will also get a golden background that appears with light themes.

Screen effects briefly take over the Google Messages app. In November, Google teased over 15 suggestions, but we’ve only encountered two so far: on Pixel 8 Pro and Galaxy S24, these suggestions work with rewriting messages on-device using Gemini Nano. For all other devices, conversations are sent to the cloud.

These are the messaging features announced by Google or generally observed by beta users.

Gemini Feature in Google Messages

This AI chatbot allows you to converse with Gemini. The experience has been enhanced to provide more concise and optimal responses on phones. Available features include accessing Gemini extensions (Gmail, Drive, Maps, YouTube, etc.) and creating images.

Google said it would begin testing this Gemini version in late February for a small percentage of users before a broader rollout. There have been no reports from users about activating this feature yet.

In late November Google announced Voice Moods to visually depict the sound waveform through “sprinkling emoji-like hearts, eyes, or smokeballs. There are nine in total so recipients can “hear your words with a visual effect expressing how you feel at that moment.”

Google Introduces Long-Awaited Features to Google Messages

However, the most significant change is the redesign of the voice recording user interface to open as a dedicated panel with large controls upon tapping the button.

Previously, your only option was long-pressing to continue recording. This is coupled with a noise isolation feature that increases the bit rate and sampling rate.

The update is available for some users only, but we haven’t seen Voice Moods yet.

Instead of the pop-up window called “Select conversation,” you’ll get a full-screen “Select recipients” user interface with “Recent chats” inserted first. Then you get a complete list of contacts.

Google Introduces Long-Awaited Features to Google Messages

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