Those who’ve installed the Android O Developer Preview have found the new version of Google’s Messages app has a few new features which look pretty useful. It’s worth noting that some features are Android O-specific, while others should be available to everyone.
Mark as Read in the notification allows you to mark notifications as read from the notification bar, meaning that your messages app won’t be cluttered with unread messages that (presumably) you probably don’t care about.
Android Police have been testing out the new features, and you can see how they look here:
This brings a feature that some other apps have, allowing you to mark the message as read without having to open the app completely to read or action it.
A change which we’ll see once Android O becomes more widespread is the move to notification channels. It’s surprising to see Messages adopt this functionality now rather than when Android O is released, but nonetheless, it’s there if you’re using the Android O DP3.
What does this mean? Simply, notification settings are now mostly removed from Messages, and moved instead to Android O’s Notification Channels instead. Android Police describe the change here:
In earlier versions of the app, settings inside the app were used to configure if you got notifications, if they vibrated, and what sound was made. Settings were possible for the app as a whole, but individual contacts could also be configured differently. Those options have been replaced by a single line named Notifications which leads to dynamically added notification channels in the system settings.
If you want to download the new Android Messages version 2.3, you can grab it on APK Mirror, but we warn you now: on devices earlier than Android O, it seems to crash repeatedly.
If you want to go back to the more recent working version after experimenting, here’s the link: