With mobile software, gaining early or first access to new things can, at least for some, often feel like an accomplishment in its own right and it's now possible to get that from Google's Messages too. That's because the search giant has now been spotted kicking off a public beta channel for the default Android text, chat, and MMS communications application -- accessible and downloadable from the Google Play Store.
As with other betas run via the official Android app marketplace from Google and others, there's bound to be some hiccups with the test version of the app and there's really no telling what each update will bring with it. But those who sign up for the beta will be able to get access to new features, UI enhancements, bug fixes, and other improvements well ahead of other users.
Getting signed up?
Signing up for the beta is a straightforward process and doesn't really require much by way of explanation. All that's needed is for a user to navigate to the appropriate page for Messages on a smartphone or compatible Android device. The only real requirement is going to be that the gadget needs access to SMS apps via SIM card and to be recognized as such by the Play Store.
Once on the page, the UI for signing up will be revealed toward the bottom of the interface just below the section dedicated to the Developer's contact information and other details. The catch, of course, is that there are always a limited number of spots available to be filled by testers.
As of this writing, the beta program for Android Messages is full. Consequently, that's going to be the message anybody who lands there is greeted with but slots do tend to fill up and open with some regularity. So it's going to be a good idea to keep an eye on that for those who are interested in joining in.
Once a slot is open, a "JOIN" button will appear in the "Join the beta" box. Further information about the purpose of the beta and other details will be presented once the button is clicked and the update download will start.
What kind of changes can be expected?
Predicting what Google has planned for the default Android messaging platform is effectively impossible since it's really not even possible to gauge whether the search giant will ultimately just drop any given app at any given time.
Previous teardowns of the app itself and other reports have hinted at a number of fairly big changes though that suggest it might be worthwhile to get involved. While bugs in beta apps are typically small, some of the more recent speculations have centered around the addition of deeper Google Assistant AI integration as well as some measures to verify the number a message is actually originating from.
Not every update is going to contain such major improvements but when they do land, joining in on the beta means that participants will be among the first users to gain access to those.