New year, new version? Google has quietly slipped out a 4.0 update to its Messages app that doesn’t change much on the surface, but brings it more in line with the rest of Google’s on-device applications.

The major user-facing change in the update is the ability to set (and change) the name of group chats – an especially welcome feature for users who have multiple group chats with similar participants. If you’re chatting with contacts that don’t have pictures, their presentation has also been updated in this version.

Thanks to a detailed APK teardown from Android Police, we know that there’s also some lower level changes like references to file attachments, changing SMSC settings and onboarding users to RCS.

The Messages app has come a long way since it was first launched as Android Messages, evolving into one of Android’s best-regarded SMS, MMS & RCS messaging apps. It seems that this latest major version bump might not be justified by the features, but it could be laying the groundwork for something new that’s yet to come.

The update is yet to show up on my devices (they remain steadfastly locked at version 3.9), so it’s probably doing a slow rollout to ensure a bug-free update. If you can’t wait and need it now, head over to APK Mirror to grab it.

Source: Android Police.
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Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!