Google Messages Adds Profile Picture Display for Improved Messaging Experience
Google frequently introduces small but significant updates in its apps, and its latest update for the Messages app is no exception. The update adds the profile picture of the person you’re messaging to the top of the screen, providing a more personalized touch to conversations. A tap on this picture will take you to that person’s contact card. However, to make room for the avatar, Google has removed the search function from the top of the display and deleted the magnifying glass icon. If you need the search tool, tap on the overflow menu icon to find it as an option.
The Rich Communication Services Platform
The Google Messages app includes the Rich Communication Services (RCS) platform. It has similar functions to iMessage platform, which is highly-touted among iPhone users. Both platforms provide end-to-end encryption, higher-quality images, read receipts, typing indicators, and more. However, RCS is exclusively available on the Google Messages app and is not found on carrier-provided messaging apps installed on your Android phone. If others in your chat group are not using Google Messages, you will be using old-school SMS instead of RCS.
Google has attempted to get Apple to include RCS as part of a cross-platform messaging app. However, when an iPhone user joins an RCS group chat or when an Android user joins an iOS group chat, all the features are lost. Although Google has been willing to allow Apple to add RCS platform to Apple’s Messages app, the idea has been dismissed by Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook.
How to Access the Google Messages App and its Beta Version
To access the Google Messages app and its beta version, you must have the version 20230313_01_RC00.phone.openbeta_dynamic or later. If you haven’t received the update yet, it’s available to beta testers. To join the beta, search for Google Messages in the Play Store, scroll down, and press the button to join if Google is still accepting more beta testers. The profile pictures update will also appear in stable versions of Google Messages very soon.
Text Field Message Indicators
You can verify if you are using RCS by looking at the color of the text balloon when you send a message. If it is a dark blue, you are using RCS. If the text field says “Text message,” you are about to message an iPhone user or an Android user who is not using the Google Messages app. If it says “RCS message,” then you are messaging another Android user who has the Google Messages app, and you will have all the RCS features available to you.
Google has added a new feature to its Messages app that displays your contact’s profile picture. However, to make space for it, the search function has been removed from the screen. Additionally, the Rich Communication Services platform remains exclusive to the Google Messages app. The Google Messages app’s stable version and its beta version are available in the Play Store. If you use RCS, you can verify it by the text balloon’s color when you send a message.