Messages from Google is the go-to messaging app for most Android users. It’s pre-installed on many Android smartphones. And, on the devices that it isn’t, you can install it separately and set it as the default messaging app.

new google messages features
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What makes Messages so popular among users is Google’s consistent effort to update the app regularly across various facets, be it design or features. Additionally, the introduction of RCS on Messages a few years back, in an effort to make the messaging experience more engaging also makes Google Messages a solid case for Messages on Android.

As a continuation of this practice, Google has again announced a bunch of new features to the Messages app. Here’s a look at all the new Messages features and how they affect your messaging experience going forward.

Respond to an Individual Message

reply to individual messages
IMAGE: Google

One of the top features among the list of new features in Google Messages is the ability to respond to individual messages in a conversation. It’s available after you enable RCS inside Messages.

With this feature, you can selectively reply to any message in a conversation without interrupting the flow. So, say, for instance, if you’re exchanging texts in a group, you can now respond to people’s messages selectively to avoid causing confusion to other group members.

SMS Reactions

As part of a Messages update earlier this year, Google introduced the ability to interpret reactions from iPhone users.

With this update, whenever an iPhone user reacts to your message, rather than alerting you about the same in the form of text, Messages now grabs the reaction, understands it, and adds an appropriate emoji reaction that matches the exact sense of the reaction.

Now, taking this a step further, Google is adding the ability to respond to SMS messages from iPhone users via reactions. Once the feature is available, if you receive a message from an iPhone user—as an SMS—you can respond to it using emojis.

Reminders in Messages

reminders in google messages
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Google is bringing reminders in Messages to help you remember important upcoming events in your calendar. Basically, with this new feature, you can set a reminder to remind yourself to call someone or schedule an appointment.

Additionally, Google Messages will also intelligently pick up events like birthdays or anniversaries you’ve assigned to your contacts and remind you to wish them when you open the Messages app.

Voice Message Transcription

voice message transcription
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Voice messages offer a more emotive way to communicate with others and help you convey your message clearly and effectively. However, you can’t always use voice messages for communication; if you’re in a crowded place or a meeting, you’re better off texting.

Keeping this in mind, Google has added the Voice Message Transcription feature in Messages that helps you transcribe voice messages into text. It uses machine learning to transcribe the incoming audio message into text, so you can view its content—just like a regular message—without having to play the audio.

Voice Message Transcription will be available on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 series, along with Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series and the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Star Messages You’ll Need Later

star messages
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Until now, if you wanted to find a message in a conversation, you had to look it up manually using search. But with the latest update to Google Messages, you can now star important messages to find them later quickly and easily.

Messages makes this possible by suggesting you star a message whenever there’s one containing an address, phone number, or door code. You can then choose to either ignore it or star it to make the message easier to find later.

Quick Video Calls

At times texting can feel impersonal and detached, and hopping onto a video call may seem like a better mode to communicate with the other person.

With this idea, when you receive a text message from the other person to get on a video call, like “Can you talk now?”, Messages will now recognize it and suggest a Meet call. It will show you the Meet icon next to the message, which you can tap to start a video call.

Similarly, if a message contains text like “Let’s meet at 6 pm on Tuesday” to catch up, Messages will suggest adding a calendar event for the same so you don’t forget about it.

Play YouTube Videos in Messages

play youtube videos in messages
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Google is bringing the ability to play YouTube videos inside the Messages app. So now, when you receive a message that contains a link to a YouTube video, you can tap this link to watch the video right inside Messages and also respond to it without leaving the app.

Chat with Businesses

Chat with Businesses is a new feature in Messages that lets you chat directly with businesses you find on Search and Maps inside Messages. Not only does this offer a more private and secure communication experience, but it also lets you view all your messages in one place, which you can come back to when you need them later.

Making Messages Powerful to Stay Ahead of the Competition

Google’s addition of new features is aimed at making Messages powerful and staying ahead of the competition. Although RCS, in itself, makes Google Messages stand out from other messaging apps already, it’s nice to see Google adding new features every now and then to extend the app’s functionality even further.

Alongside the headlining features listed above, the Messages app also gets a couple of additions. A redesigned app icon for Messages is one of them, and Google plans to introduce this new iconography to the Phone and Contacts app as well.

Another feature that won’t directly affect many users but is a welcome addition is texting while you’re in the air. For this, Google has partnered with United Airlines to offer messaging services on United flights through United Wi-Fi on most carriers. It will be available with Messages via RCS on most carriers starting this fall.

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