Whether you are sending and SMS or using Instant Messenger, texting is one of the main ways we keep in touch. There are two main ways to do this; you can either use your devices built-in SMS client (e.g. iMessage on iOS) or use an 'Over The Top' (OTT) application like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
Lightweight addition to crowded market
Messages is a reimagined SMS/MMS client. It adds in some new, modern features that you would typically expect to find in one of the OTT applications.
Google have developed a large number of different messaging applications. Hangouts was popular, and available for iOS, but is now being pushed more towards Business users. Allo had some excellent features but didn't support SMS, and was not taken up by enough users.
Messages uses Rich Communication Services (RCS) technology to deliver a modern messaging service on Android. RCS can be viewed as a successor to SMS, with added features like group chats, read receipts, and full-size image and video support.
The app has relatively standard functionality. You can send and receive SMS and MMS messages, photos/videos and audio clips. It does not support VOIP and Video Messaging. As it sends and receives SMS, it does not offer end-to-end encryption.
The app was developed using Material Design, so the UI is uncluttered, with lots of bright colors, and the slightest touch of shadow on some elements.
Each conversation is given a random color. This is an excellent way to be able to differentiate between multiple ongoing chats easily. It is a shame that it is not possible to customise these colors. It is also not possible to give custom wallpapers to your conversations, an option provided by many other rival messenger apps.
An online service is also available, in a similar vein to WhatsApp web. You navigate to the service in your browser, take a picture of a QR code from within your Message app, and your messages appear in the browser. It definitely feels good to be able to type your messages on a full-size keyboard. But it is important to note that your phone is still handling the communications. This service only works if your computer and device are both connected to the same network or the internet.
Messages is a simple app for sending and receiving messages, utilising new Rich Communication Services technology.
It is well designed, following Material Design principles, although the UI may feel a bit spartan for some people.
It does not boast some of the features offered as standard by some OTT apps, such as voice and video calling. It also does not provide end-to-end encryption.
If you already use an OTT app such as WhatsApp, it is hard to make a case for switching to Messages.