Google is introducing a series of updates for the Messages app, offering users the ability to personalize the colors of text bubbles and backgrounds. This means you can opt for blue bubbles in your Android messaging app and even assign different colors for individual chats, adding a layer of privacy to your conversations to avoid accidental disclosures.
Leveraging on-device Google AI (which may require a recent Pixel device for optimal use), the Photomoji feature allows you to transform photos into reactions. Simply choose a photo, designate the object, person, or animal you want to convert into a Photomoji, and send it. These reactions will be saved for future use, and recipients in the chat can also utilize any Photomoji you share with them.
The newly introduced Voice Moods feature allows users to enhance voice messages by applying one of nine distinct vibes, incorporating visual effects such as heart-eye emojis, fiery fireballs for expressing anger, and celebratory party poppers. Google has also elevated the quality of voice messages by increasing the bitrate and sampling rate.
Furthermore, the update includes over 15 Screen Effects that can be triggered by typing phrases like “It’s snowing” or “I love you.” These effects are designed to transform your screen with a vibrant display of colors and motion, creating an engaging visual experience. Additionally, animated effects will be showcased in Messages when specific reactions and emojis are utilized.
In addition to the mentioned updates, users can now establish a profile that associates their name and photo with their phone number, providing greater control over their appearance across various Google services. This feature aims to assist users in identifying messages from phone numbers not included in their group chats and enhance the identification of individuals within a group chat.
These features will be accessible in beta starting today through the latest version of Google Messages. Google highlights that the availability of some features may vary based on market and device.
Accompanying the rollout of these updates is the announcement that over a billion individuals are now utilizing Google Messages with RCS enabled each month. RCS (Rich Communication Services) represents an advanced and secure messaging format, surpassing the capabilities of SMS and MMS. It facilitates features such as read receipts, typing indicators, group chats, and high-resolution media. Google ensures end-to-end encryption for both one-on-one and group conversations conducted through RCS.
Google has previously attempted to encourage Apple to adopt RCS for enhanced interoperability between Android and iOS. Despite initial resistance from Apple, the company has now decided to support RCS, likely to comply with European Union regulations. Apple has recently committed to incorporating RCS support starting in 2024.