Google's Messages app with Rich Communication Services (RCS) support functions more like an instant messaging app. The latest update to the Google Messages app brings in five new features. Since the new features won't work with SMS conversations, these will most likely be limited to regions that support RCS messaging.
Firstly, users can instantly react to any new messages in conversation with the new animated expressions. The official confirmation comes after several months of teasing from the company.
Google Messages new features include a built-in photo editor
There will be a total of seven emoji-like reactions including like, love, laughter, surprise, sadness, anger, and dislike. Obviously, these reactions will not be available in conversations using SMS. With Google Allo, the company introduced the Smart Reply feature that suggests responses based on the context of a conversation.
For now, the Smart Reply suggestions will also include stickers along with text messages. Initially, these sticker suggestions will only show up in English conversations. The new update will also include a built-in media editor to create art from the photos and share them instantly.
The newly added option allows to add text or doodle when new photos are taken with the in-app camera. We should also expect to see an option for doing the same for previously captured photos. The Messages app already supports voice messages with a dedicated microphone button.
Users can make a video call directly from the chat
Users can now easily share short voice messages by holding down the button while talking. Finally, there is a shortcut to make a video call in the top section of the chat. Now, the user can instantly start a video call using the Google Duo app. Back in March, Google increased the group video call limit in Duo from 8 to 12 participants.
Earlier this month, the limit for the number of participants was increased again to 32. With all these features, Google seems to be building an iMessage-like service for all Android smartphones. More importantly, the RCS implementation also needs support from carriers and device OEMs.
We need to wait and see how Google Messages can compete with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. If you are not yet seeing these features, try to update the app to its latest version. As of now, the latest update from the Play Store doesn't include any of these new features.