A handy Google Messages feature for organizing your inbox has apparently vanished for some
"Categories" appear to have disappeared out of the blue.
An earlier version of this article suggested that only the category chips were present on one of the devices we checked instead of the "Message organization" toggle in the Settings menu. This has since been fixed, and we regret the error.
What you need to know
- Google might have removed a useful Messages feature.
- A new report suggests "Categories" in the messaging app has disappeared for a number of users.
- The feature appears to have vanished at least in the beta version of the app installed on Pixel devices.
Google Messages picked up "Categories" last year for a wider set of users after it was initially limited to the Indian market, giving people an automated way to keep their snowballing inbox organized properly. Surprisingly, the feature appears to have disappeared for some users.
As reported by 9to5Google, the ability to view messages by category is gone, and navigating to its location in the Settings menu shows that the feature is no longer available. The feature displayed three categories at the top of the inbox view: "All," "Personal," and "Business," much like the categories in Gmail.
The feature was particularly useful for those who receive a huge volume of messages from both their personal contacts and colleagues, as well as promotional messages. It didn't require any manual sorting because the app used machine learning to automatically sort messages into these categories, something that's not found on many of the best messaging apps out there.
One advantage of this feature is that it can assist users in decluttering their inboxes and decreasing the time it takes to find important messages. For example, instead of scrolling through your entire inbox, you can go directly to the Business category if you're looking for a specific transaction receipt.
It is unclear whether the feature's disappearance is the result of a software bug or a deliberate move by Google to quietly axe it. Assuming Google did pull the plug on categories, it won't be much of a surprise given the search giant's haphazard behavior in discontinuing a bunch of features and services in recent times.
A few of Android Central's writers and editors based in India and the United States have noticed that the category chips have vanished from the top of the inbox. That said, they are still seeing the toggle in the Settings menu on some of their phones, and switching on the feature restores the categories.
However, our own Derrek Lee noticed that both the category chips and the toggle in the Settings menu are missing from one of his phones, while only the latter is present on his other device, as shown in the screenshots below. Both phones have a beta version of Messages installed.
This suggests that the issue is caused by a bug, although it is not quite widespread. 9to5 notes that some users have noticed the mysterious disappearance of categories in recent weeks. The problem was spotted on Google Pixel devices running the beta version of the app, and it does not appear to be tied to any specific version of Messages.
Android Central has reached out to Google, and we'll update this article once we hear back.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.
Oh yeah, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
Although I would perfect the option to set up categories like on Samsung's own app, Google's personal & business categories are better than nothing.