It's about that time of the week when Google starts pushing out updates for their many apps available on Android. This week we're kicking things off with the Google Messenger app. It has now hit version 1.4, and brings in a few new features that might be of interest to some. One is the ability to easily share your location. However, it doesn't appear to be as intuitive as Hangouts, where the person you're talking with might say "where are you?" and a button in hangouts will pop up for you to share your location. Which is actually really neat. But you can still share your location and show the person exactly where you are.
The other feature in this update is animated stickers. So stickers have become pretty popular as of late, in messaging apps, but it all started with Path. Now with the update to Google Messenger, you can send all kinds of animated stickers to your friends and what not. Google has a bunch of collections available in the app right now, and there's likely more coming. Similar to Facebook's Messenger which also does stickers, they add more sticker collections quite frequently and have a few that are in-app purchases. We could see that soon from Google, as a way to monetize Android a bit more than just sticking ads into Gmail.
It's still a bit confusing that Google has both Hangouts and Messenger pre-installed on their devices. With Hangouts having a lot more functionality (read: more is not always better), Google has brought back an open-sourced messaging app this time around. And it's actually really great. It looks and responds much better than Hangouts, however that could only be a matter of time. As I'm sure the Hangouts team is hard at work bringing the app and service into being one of the best messaging apps around. And there is some pretty stiff competition out there, with WhatsApp, Line, Telegram and many others gaining popularity. Although WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are arguably the most popular.
You can pick up the APK for this Google Messenger update from the link below, and side-load it onto your device.