Google is rolling out a string of updates for the Messages app, including the ability to customize the colors of the text bubbles and backgrounds. So, if you really want to, you can have blue bubbles in your Android messaging app. You can have a different color for each chat, which could help prevent you from accidentally leaking a secret to family or friends.
With the help of on-device Google AI (meaning you'll likely need a recent Pixel device to use this feature), you can transform photos into reactions with Photomoji. All you need to do is pick a photo, decide which object (or person or animal) you'd like to turn into a Photomoji and hit the send button. These reactions will be saved for later use, and friends in the chat can use any Photomoji you send them as well.
The new Voice Moods feature allows you to apply one of nine different vibes to a voice message, by showing visual effects such as heart-eye emoji, fireballs (for when you're furious) and a party popper. Google says it has also upgraded the quality of voice messages by bumping up the bitrate and sampling rate.
In addition, there are more than 15 Screen Effects you can trigger by typing things like "It's snowing" or "I love you." These will make "your screen erupt in a symphony of colors and motion," Google says. Elsewhere, Messages will display animated effects when certain reactions and emoji are used.
On top of all of that, users will now be able to set up a profile that appends their name and photo to their phone number to help them have more control over how they appear across Google services. The company says this feature could help when it comes to receiving messages from a phone number that isn't in your group chats. It could help you know the identity of everyone in a group chat too.
Some of these features will be available in beta starting today in the latest version of Google Messages. Google notes that some feature availability will depend on market and device.
Google is rolling out these updates alongside the news that more than a billion people now use Google Messages with RCS enabled every month. RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a more feature-filled and secure format of messaging than SMS and MMS. It supports features such as read receipts, typing indicators, group chats and high-res media. Google also offers end-to-end encryption for one-on-one and group conversations via RCS.
For years, Google had been trying to get Apple to adopt RCS for improved interoperability between Android and iOS. Apple refused, perhaps because iMessage (and its blue bubbles) have long been a status symbol for its users. However, likely to ensure Apple falls in line with European Union regulations, Apple has relented. The company recently said it would start supporting RCS in 2024.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-messages-now-lets-you-choose-your-own-chat-bubble-colors-170042264.html?src=rss