Android Messages for Web Now Fully Deployed According to Google

Android Messages

After trickling out over the course of the past week or so, Android Messages for web has now fully been deployed according to Google’s Justin Uberti.  The Principle Engineer for Google took to Twitter early this morning to make the announcement.

Now that it is fully deployed, everyone using Messages should be able to send text messages from their browser on their PC, Mac, or Chromebook without having to actually touch their phones.

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Google Begins Rolling Out Messages for Web

Messages for Web Instructions

One of the more anticipated features of Android Messages, the texting app from Google, has been Messages for Web.  As the name implies, it links Messages on your phone with your laptop to allow you to send and receive text messages without having to touch your phone.  Google has flipped the switch and the new site for the feature is live.

Navigating to the Messages for Web site walks you through the instructions to link your phone to the site via a QR code.  You scan that QR code within the Android Messages app under the overflow (three vertical dots) menu.

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Chrome OS Commit Points to Android Messages Integration

Google Pixelbook Chrome OS Interface

A new Chrome OS commit suggests that integration with Android Messages could be on its way to the platform.  The wording of the commit suggests that it will be a feature flag, at least in the beginning, but there are no details on how to enable the flag or when it will appear in a Chrome OS build.

Integration with Android Messages would allow for users to have their SMS/MMS messages on their Android phone running Messages to be sync’d with their Chromebook, thus allowing you to respond from your Chromebook without having to actually pick up your phone.  In theory, it works on the same principle as what you can do with Hangouts Classic before SMS support was removed (but it still works for Project Fi users) between your phone and your Chromebook.

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Android Messages Drops KitKat Support in Latest Update

Android Messages

Version 3.0 of Android Messages, Google’s SMS app, has started rolling out in the Google Play Store today.  While it doesn’t sport a lot of changes, mostly bug fixes and performance improvements, it does drop support for Android KitKat.

KitKat was released back in October 2013 so dropping support for the now 4 year and a bit year old version is not entirely shocking and it fits with Google upping the minimum supported API level in other apps.  Frankly, at this point nobody should be using KitKat purely from a security perspective.

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Teardown Suggests that Android Messages to Get a Web Interface

Android Messages

There is a new update for the Android Messages app for Android rolling out in the Play Store today.  Frankly there isn’t anything very interesting about the update from a user perspective but what is in the code is quite interesting.  It appears that there is code now in the app that would allow for a Allo-like web experience for Messages.  This could allow for sending and receiving of text messages from your desktop.

The code was discovered by the team over at Android Police in a tear down of the new version of the app.  It appears that, like Allo, you will scan a QR code to sync your computer with your phone and be able to send and receive messages on both.  This feature isn’t something new.  Google Hangouts still has this feature if you are a Project Fi user and use Hangouts as your SMS app (SMS in Hangouts isn’t supported anymore outside of Fi).  Instead, it would be a return of a feature and that is a great thing.

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Project Fi Subscribers Getting Smart Replies in Android Messages

Android Messages

Subscribers of Project Fi have a new feature coming to the Android Messages app for SMS and MMS.  Smart Replies is something that has been in Google Allo and Google Inbox for some time now and the feature is now rolling out to Fi subscribers.

Like Allo and Inbox, when a text message comes into your Android Messages app, you will see options for replies in three small bubbles just above the text box where you type your replies.  Backed by Google’s AI, smart replies understands the context of the message you were sent and offers quick, one tap replies to those messages.

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Huawei to Integrate Android Messages into Upcoming Devices

Android Messages

Late yesterday, Google and Huawei both announced an agreement where by the Chinese manufacture will start integrating the RCS-powered Android Messages app into their upcoming devices.  The move means that Huawei will abandon their current messaging app in favor of Google’s for a richer user experience.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, HUAWEI devices will offer a rich native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over WiFi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on HUAWEI’s devices through RCS business messaging from Google.

Huawei also announced that they will be integrating with Google Duo for video calls directly from Messages via carrier’s ViLTE services.

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Google and Carriers Expand RCS Messaging to Latin America

Android Messages

Google, through various partnerships in Latin America, has announced that RCS Messaging will be rolling out to various carriers in the region over the coming months.

Today we’re excited to announce that we’re working with leading carriers América MóvilAT&T in MéxicoOi and Telefónica to bring RCS messaging to people across Latin America. In collaboration with these carriers, we’ll roll out RCS messaging in the countries where they operate over time, bringing better messaging to more than two thirds of all mobile subscribers in Latin America.

The news means that subscribers to these carriers will be able to communicate in a more rich way than plain SMS, offering the ability to send GIFs and other rich media as well as have group messaging across international borders.

For those who are not familiar, RCS Messaging is Rich Communication Services and has been rolling out here in the United States and Europe for a while now.  It offers a more “smartphone” experience over SMS as Google likes to say.

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