Google Messages 1 billion

Google has announced a string of updates to Google Messages to celebrate a landmark of 1 billion users now on RCS messaging.

One of the key updates is the ability to customise the colour of the message bubbles within a chat, with users able to pick a different colour (including the background) for every chat. That, Google says might trigger you to realise before sending accidental messages.

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“It’s no longer about blue vs. green,” Google says pointedly. “Now you can differentiate your conversations and avoid accidentally texting your family group chat a weekend update meant for your friend.”

Google has been a strong advocate for ending the tiered blue vs green bubble system caused by Apple’s iMessage closed garden. Apple has sort of buckled by agreeing to adopt RCS messaging in 2024, as Google has also been demanding all along. However, green bubbles are going nowhere.

Next up, Google is adding Photomoji, which makes it possible to transform a photo from your library into an emoji you can send as a standard emoji or a reaction.

There’s also a new set of Screen Effects, which make messages “come alive” Google said. This is similar to what we’ve seen in iMessage for years. If you type certain phrases like “I love you” or “it’s snowing” for instance, you’ll see a nice little display on your screen. There are more than 15 to uncover.

There are new animated emoji, reaction effects and voice moods (both of which we detailed as part of Google’s big Android updates today).

Google is also adding profiles to messages. The company explains: “We know self-expression is important, and with Profiles, you can now shape how you appear across Google services. This addresses the problem of receiving messages from phone numbers not saved in your contacts, which can be particularly useful in group chats so that you know who all the other participants in the group are.”

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