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Google Messages' potential feature will make voice memos easier to understand

Google Messages app on the Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is apparently developing a number of new capabilities for the Messages app.
  • Messages may be picking up a new button for transcribing voice message audio.
  • The app also appears to be adding a new capability to let you react to a message with any emoji and view the photo picker in a vertical-scrolling layout.

Google Messages users sometimes prefer sending voice messages, especially if they're on the fly or don't have the luxury of time to type. But some recipients may find themselves in a situation in which listening to a voice message audio isn't ideal: this is where a potential Google Messages feature comes in handy.

9to5Google (opens in new tab) has spotted a handful of new capabilities for the Messages app, including support for voice memo transcription, broader emoji reactions, and improved photo picker view. The potential features have been unearthed in an APK teardown, suggesting that they could arrive on one of the best messaging apps down the road.

According to the outlet's discovery, the app may be picking up the ability to provide transcripts for voice messages, a feature it added two years ago. The feature's description notes that it "can help when voice message audio isn’t clear or listening isn’t an option." As usual, Google is preempting privacy concerns by stating that the feature only transcribes voice messages on your device and that "the transcript contents aren’t sent to Google."

Since this is an unreleased feature, voice memo transcription is less accurate and slower than voice typing with Google Assistant on the Google Pixel 6, as per 9to5.

Another capability that could be in the works is a broader set of emoji reactions. Google appears to be expanding your options from a few preset emojis to an unlimited selection of emojis you can think of. While it isn't live yet, the new emoji reactions appear to be showing up for some recipients.

And if you like sending photos to your friends and family members via Messages, the app could gain a new layout for its photo picker. The latest beta version of Messages includes hint of a revamped photo gallery design that displays images in a vertical layout. 

This is in contrast to the current design, which requires you to scroll through a horizontal grid of photos and screenshots. In addition, there seems to be a dedicated button for folders, allowing you to dig through old images on top of the recent ones.

These features are not available to users just yet, but they'll mark a nifty improvement to Messages when and if they make it to a public release.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer

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.