The Galaxy S21 has a Google Messages app you won't find anywhere else

Google Messages Oneui S
Google Messages Oneui S (Image credit: Samsung)

What you need to know

  • Google and Samsung are tweaking the Messages app so that it feels native to the S21.
  • Google has been pushing for all Android OEMs to switch over to the Google Phone and Messages apps as their telephony defaults.
  • Google Messages will now be the default messaging app on the majority of Galaxy S21 phones.

With the launch of the Galaxy S21 yesterday, Samsung and Google announced a native Messages experience for the Galaxy S21. While it wasn't clear at first what that meant beyond pre-installing the Messages app on Samsung's phones, a closer look at the image Samsung shared shed some light on the topic.

Pixel Google Messages Oops

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

As becomes obvious when contrasted against Google Messages on the Pixel, both companies will be tweaking the Messages app so that it is now One UI themed. This means the bright blue of RCS chat is now a more muted blue, the icons will change to match Samsung's preferred icons, and Samsung may even add in some of its animations. For Samsung's customers, the companies hope you won't even feel the difference. Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer says as much in an interview with Engadget.

When Google mandates its apps as the default experience on other Android phones, it doesn't always look good. OEMs like Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo often have their own set of default apps with alternate design languages that clash with Google's very minimal tastes creating an overall incoherent experience. While many would like OEMs to adopt a more stock Android look, a move like this is a good middle-ground where all sides win.

Michael Allison