Google Messages is giving RCS chats more color with background wallpapers

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra displaying Google Messages.
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is rolling out a background wallpaper for RCS chats in Messages.
  • The background — which showcases overlapping circles and bubbles, and utilizes Dynamic Color — is meant to distinguish RCS conversations from SMS/MMS messages on the app. 
  • The visual update follows other efforts Google has made to differentiate RCS chats on the app, such a badge that identifies RCS-supported conversations. 

Google Messages has already been testing some new ways to make it easier to see which of your conversations are using RCS — and now, the search giant seems to be introducing an even more prominent way to identify your RCS chats on its Messages app.

First reported by the folks at 9to5Google, the company is working on a new background wallpaper on Google Messages for RCS chats, designed to set them apart from the standard SMS/MMS conversations that populate the texting platform. 

The eye-catching new wallpaper distinguishes RCS messages by showcasing overlapping circles and bubbles, which utilize Dynamic Color to maintain an attractive appearance. The visual differentiator particularly makes the message bubbles and compose field stand out. It’s also noted that the design would prominently stand out with a light theme, but it would appear more subtle and less noticeable in dark mode.  

The new background wallpaper for RCS chats on Google Messages

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

Based on the images seen and shared by 9to5Google, it looks like the same pattern is being used at both the testing and implementation stages. This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen this customization appear, as these same wallpaper designs were revealed in a previous deep dive into the app. However, it stands to reason that Google would eventually provide a variety of different designs or generate them dynamically to create a personalized experience. 

In contrast, WhatsApp provides a “wallpaper” feature in which users can select a photo from their library or choose between solid and gradient colors. Signal similarly adopted this feature, so Google Messages is essentially catching up to other messaging apps.

9to5 indicates that the wallpapers are rolling out, although it's not clear how widely the option is appearing. So far, we have yet to see it show up on our devices, but Google already has plenty on the way for the Messages app.

It’s also worth noting that the new background wallpaper is separate from another feature that Google Messages is introducing that allows users to customize bubbles from nine different colors as a way to distinguish different chats. Google has yet to release the update, which was announced several weeks ago alongside other expressive features.

That being said, the background wallpaper follows other efforts Google has made to differentiate RCS chats on Messages, including a badge that identifies RCS-supported conversations in your inbox.