Google Is Testing Bubbles API In The Messages App


If you like Facebook's Chat Heads, something similar is headed to Android. Google is now testing the Bubbles API on its messaging app.

The Bubbles API aims to make it easier for users to multi-task. The feature is in Developer Preview right now and disabled by default. However, it can be enabled in the Developer options settings.

And that's what XDA Developers did. The publication reports that the functionality can be toggled on in the latest version of the Messages app. And when it is enabled, the text messages you receive will be shown in a bubble.


The notification bubble will be shown with the app icon, the image of the sender, and a preview of the message contents. If you don't respond to it, the preview will disappear, and only a notification dot will be shown.

When you tap on the bubble, the entire thread will be shown in an overlay. This will make it possible to reply to the message without switching apps.  The app will collapse when you aren't using it. This will basically allow you to get back to the app you were previously on quickly.

It is also possible to dismiss the floating bubbles. You will just have to drag them to the 'x' icon which is shown towards the bottom of the screen. If you use the Facebook Messenger app, you can easily picture this.


However, if the feature doesn't appeal to you, there is good news. This is an opt-out feature. When an app sends it first bubble, a permission dialogue will appear. Then, you can either block bubbles or allow them.  Alternatively, you can go the app settings, and disable Bubbles from there. In that case, you will see the notification as a normal one and not like a bubble.

The Feature Isn't Officially Available

But, of course, this isn't something you should expect in the near future. The bubble notification feature was a part of Android 10 Beta 2 but wasn't included in the stable release. The Mountain View-based company will probably make it official with Android 11.

If you are game, and tech-savvy, then you may try enabling the feature manually in your device for now. However, since it is under development, it might not work smoothly.


Thus, it might make more sense to wait for Google to roll it out. That being said, there is no guarantee that the functionality will actually make it to Android 11. But the way things look, we are quite optimistic.

According to a previous report, Bubbles can also work with the Google Phone app. When you leave an active call, a circle will appear with the picture of the contact. It can be dragged around, allowing you to either hide or end the call. A single tap results in more options such as muting the call.

Google understands that bubbles require a lot of screen estate and appear over other apps. Thus it wants developers to use this functionality only for important tasks, such as ongoing communications. Otherwise, the notifications will get annoying.