Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

5 new features for Android Messages roll out, including a desktop version

5 new features for Android Messages roll out, including a desktop version

Users who log into Android Messages on desktop will now be able to send and view SMS messages received on their Android smartphone using a PC. It's very similar to Apple's iMessage platform, but unlike iMessage, Android Messages did not have a desktop browser client.

Android's Messages for Web is finally here. On Messages for web, you can send stickers, emoji, and attach images in addition to sending a text. Put simply, when RCS is available, users will have access to all the features we've come to expect from apps like WhatsApp Facebook Messenger and Telegram, including group chats, high-res photo sharing and read receipts.

Google is starting to plug the gaps, bit by bit, in what's been an all-over-the-place messaging product until now.

The app is a front-end for the Podcasts player in Google Assistant and it leverages the reach of the Assistant on your various devices to let you search for and play podcasts on any of those devices. Curiously, there is no integration with Chromecast yet, so you won't be able to cast a show to a Chromecast-equipped speaker. You can authenticate your phone by locating and tapping the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner of the app to open the "more options" menu. Google recommends staying connected to WiFi in order to save your mobile data while using the desktop service. This page has the full instructions on this which uses a QR code. If someone sends you a link in a chat - or if you send them a link - Messages will give an inline preview of that link's contents.

Now, Messages is gaining another feature to better compete with iMessage: web support.

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Another interesting feature that has been adopted from Allo is smart replies which allows users to send AI-generated responses in case they do not have the time to respond to messages.

The official Google Podcasts app is available now from the Play Store.

Google is using Rich Communication Services (RCS) in the new client. You can also download episodes. To access the new GIF search feature, just tap the + button on the left side of the compose bar.

Yet another useful feature is the Preview Links. A new feature in Messages will allow you to copy the password directly from the service with a single tap.

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