Google Messages gets a new design and advanced features

Google continues to make Google Messages a competent alternative to established solutions such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, adding features such as end-to-end encryption, support for video calls and voice message transcription.

While recent controversy has been more about RCS, the cross-platform messaging protocol backed by Google and rejected by rival Apple, the news should be more about the major improvements that have made Google Messages a modern, full-featured instant messaging solution. Starting out as a banal inbox for incoming SMS messages on your phone, Google Messages is now no different to rival WhatsApp, which you can call on to communicate with any contact in your agent using secure chat sessions, internet-mediated voice calls and video calls. At least, as long as that person is still using an Android phone.

So now you don’t have to listen to every voicemail you receive from “that” person too comfortable to text you directly, the Google Messages app gets the ability to transcribe all the voicemails you receive. At the same time, you can dictate your replies in text form, using voice recognition technologies provided by Google. At the moment, this feature is limited to a few next-generation smartphones, such as the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 series, Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Z Fold 4.

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And if you’re willing to use the keyboard to compose messages, you can now insert emoji without running into the limitations of SMS messaging.

Another new feature is the integrated Reminders function. So the updated version of Google Messages can help users remember important events without opening a dedicated app (e.g. Calendar). The app can, for example, remind users about an anniversary or birthday if the information has been added to the saved contact details beforehand.

Also, if you choose to share YouTube links using Google Messages, the person on the other end will be able to watch the clip directly from the conversation window without having to open the YouTube app.

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Another interesting feature enabled by the advanced AI and ML (Machine Learning) capabilities Google has developed is the app’s “ability” to understand the context of a message and predict the next possible action. For example, if you send a text announcing a meeting time for next week, the app will automatically prompt you to add an event to your calendar to remind you of that meeting.

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