When it comes to the best text messaging apps, I actually really love Google Messages. Thanks to Google pushing RCS on Android, the app has started coming into its own as a viable iMessage alternative for Android users. You've got typing indicators, high-quality media files, reactions, and more recently, end-to-end encryption. When you enable RCS Chat features in Google Messages, it does feel like a huge step up from regular SMS.
That said, I can't help but feel like some things are missing. Google continues to bring new features to improve the experience, but I can't help but want more, especially compared to the bevy of other messaging apps I use to communicate with my peers. These are some of the features that I've seen on these other apps that I would love for Google to adopt in Messages.
One of the most valuable aspects of iMessage is its app integration. It lets you do things like making payments, sharing music, and much more without leaving the app. Something like this would be incredibly helpful for Google Messages.
Google already has Duo integration for video calls and built-in Assistant features. Adding Google Pay, YouTube Music, and other Google apps to the attachments menu would greatly improve the app's functionality. And Google could even extend this to third-party applications for even more possibilities.
An oldie but goodie
Google Allo may be dead, but it wasn't without its merits. In my opinion, of its coolest features was the ability to shout or whisper messages by altering their size. You would slide the send button down to make the font and text bubble smaller or slide it up to enlargen them. It was a great way to better express meaning in text outside the use of emojis and reactions, and it's a shame it hasn't migrated to Google Messages since the death of Allo.
Along with shouts and whispers, there are other ways to add more expression to Google Messages. Other messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and more feature individual chat themes and animations, and I would love to see these make it to Google Messages. Emoji Kitchen is one thing (and another feature that Google should include), but animated emoji would make things much more fun and interesting. And Google can expand that to full-screen animations, like balloons or hearts that fill up the display when using associated emoji.
And speaking of emoji, it would be nice to get more reactions for messages, or at least the option to search for an extra one, like in Facebook Messenger.
RCS is getting better, but it can still be a bit of a mess. Without warning, it can stop working, lose connection, or just fail to register users altogether, and messages can get left in RCS limbo. We've recently covered a series of connection issues that users have been having with RCS, and gaining new features like those listed above won't really matter if users can't use them.
Wishful thinking: iMessage
I mean, this is just a pipe dream at this point, but having some sort of iMessage integration would be awesome. Or, alternatively, putting RCS in iMessage. With U.S. carriers on board for making Google Messages the default on the best Android devices, iPhones are the last major hurdle to phase out the aging SMS.
Google seems open to supporting iMessage and more recently has extended an invitation for Apple to adopt RCS in iMessage. It's not likely to happen, but it would make the texting experience much better between the two platforms, especially for group chats.
There are a couple of other (more likely) features I'd love to see in Google Messages. For instance, being able to reply to an individual message is always handy and can help manage the flow of a conversation better. It would also be cool to have some type of status indicator for contacts to see which ones have RCS turned on and are online. Samsung Messages has this, and it's better than having to go into a message to check whether or not the text field shows "Chat."
I'm sure there are more features that Google can add down the road, but these are a few that I would like to see. More than anything, I would just like more customization options and ways to make the messaging experience a bit more versatile and fun without turning it into a cluttered mess of features like what we see with Telegram.
For our readers that use Google Messages, what features would you like to see added to the app?
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.