Monday , January 15 2018

Google updates Messenger to 2.0; more compact UI, new circular icon for all, and hints of RCS


SMS is one of the earliest ‘applications’ for mobile phones, and it’s something that just about every OEM customises on their mobiles, for better or for worse. However, for those that prefer a consistent experience across devices, Google’s Messenger app has been a popular choice, elegant in its simplicity. Google has just released a major update, to version 2.0, which brings with it a new icon and redesign of many parts of the app.

A new design for Messenger

messenger_iconIt’s a lick of paint and a new icon, primarily, but there are other changes. The main message list, for example, is slightly more dense, with smaller icons. The conversation view has also been redesigned, with rounded bubbles for each message that more closely resembles the style of Google Allo.

There’s room for more lines of text, with less padding and your profile icon no longer appearing next to each message. Additionally, text under the send icon lets you know whether you’re sending an SMS or an MMS.

The other major change is the ‘New Message’ screen, with a carousel of most-contacted contacts up the top, and then your alphabetically listed contacts underneath. It’s a handy way to make it easier to contact those who you contact most frequently.

The advent of RCS?

What’s RCS? Well, before this article, we didn’t know either. It stands for Rich Communication Services, and it’s kind of like the re-imagining of what SMS/MMS could be. Most likely, it will work much the same way as the communication apps/services we know and love, including things like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger. We’re told this will include things like high-res photos, group chats, read receipts, and even video calling.

Of course, we already have all this from third party apps and services, but RCS will integrate this at a lower level, with the same almost-universal compatibility as SMS. Basically, no wondering whether your aunt or uncle has Telegram or Whatsapp, you just send them a message as you would an SMS, and (if their phone supports RCS) they’ll get whatever you send.

While RCS isn’t implemented yet, there are signs of it appearing in the code for the Messenger app. We won’t go into detail — because you don’t care just yet — but it’s good to know that Google is working on it for us.

The update is rolling out now via the Play Store, but if it’s not showing as available for you yet, you can grab it on APK Mirror too.

Android Messages
Android Messages
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were “transportable” and were carried in a shoulder bag. He saw the transition from AMPS to GSM, loved the Motorola StarTac, and got into Palm technologies in a big way. The arrival some years later of the original iPhone, and then the early Androids, awoke a new interest in mobile technology, and Chris has been writing about it since.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia’s most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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4 Comments on "Google updates Messenger to 2.0; more compact UI, new circular icon for all, and hints of RCS"

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Nizar Noor
Valued Guest

So… Do both devices (sending device and receiving device) need to support RCS for it to work? What happens when it’s only the sending device that supports it?

Tango India Mike
Valued Guest
Tango India Mike

Dark mode?


Does RCS mean that the picture messages I send from my Nexus will not be way too compressed like it does now?

Valued Guest

This was the reason i stopped using the messenger app and went to Textra. If the mms feature doesn’t compress the pics then i’ll be going back to using this.

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