Google adds new photo features to Messages as the app hits 1 billion installs

Android Messages with a dark theme
Android Messages with a dark theme (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is testing a new "attach recent photos" button in chat.
  • However, it only pops up briefly after taking a photo.
  • The new button does serve to highlight the speedy and efficient media sharing of Google's RCS-powred chat service.

Ever so often we get a reminder that Messages isn't just an SMS app, it's Google's new instant messaging effort. Powered by RCS, Google hopes for this app could rival the likes of WhatsApp and iMessage, and it's adding nifty little features to underscore that. First discovered by the folks over at Android Police, the Messages app in beta will now pop up an "attach recent picture button."

Simply put, it's a one-tap shortcut for sending the last photo captured. It doesn't show up if you're using MMS, but it does if you're using RCS i.e chat. The reasoning is clear. Sending multi-media messages via Google's chat is free and can work even over WiFi, while it's probably going to cost an arm and a leg in MMS fees.

It's a small feature, but it's the kind of small feature that sets Google products apart (when they properly implement them.) To its credit, Google Messages recently crossed the 1 billion download mark, a feat for an app that isn't even installed by default on the vast majority of Android phones sold. Google is also continuing its RCS rollout, hitting Singapore and Italy last week.

In the meantime, if you'd like to try out the quick photo feature, it seems to be live only in Beta versions of the app. There's server-side trickery needed to get access, simply a sign up from the Play Store will do.

Google Messages App Icon

Google Messages

Google's messaging app for Android finally hits its stride with over 1 billion installs. Small features like this will only grow more useful as more people engage with and use Chat.

Michael Allison
  • Just PLEASE add reactions or responses for texts like imessage! It would be so nice to long press on a message and pick a reaction instead of typing something out. We need this feature now!
  • Yes! And I hope it will show iPhone reactions as well instead of a whole new message that a text was loved
  • Agreed, RCS definitely needs this asap. It would take group chats to a new level.
  • I totally agree! That feature is long overdue!
  • And yet it still doesn't have the ability to send scheduled messages like just about every other SMS app out there
  • Yes! This is the only missing feature that prevents me from using the Google app. When will they add the ability to schedule massages?? How difficult could this be?
  • i wish google messages told you who has chat feratures enabled before you open the conversation like samsung messages dose. its a very useful feature
  • i think I will certainly keep it off my phone then.