Reflecting its new role as Google’s primary consumer messaging solution, Messages in recent months has received a number of updates. In the last version, search was significantly upgraded, while a Material Theme and dark mode were recently added. Messages 3.7 today continues work on adding Google Assistant and improving search.
About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Android Messages is now Messages
Sometime during the past few weeks, Google quietly renamed the Play Store listing from “Android Messages” to just “Messages.” As we noted last night, it reflects Google’s shift away from Android branding.
Google Assistant for Messages
Work on Allo-like Assistant suggestions in conversations continues with Messages 3.7. When users “Launch assistant,” they will be able to find out more about the Weather, Movies, and Restaurants.
<string name=”c2o_category_assistant_content_description”>Launch assistant</string>
File attachments and PDFs
With Messages working on sharing contacts in version 3.6, today’s update details work on sending file attachments, including recognizing PDFs.
<string name=”pdf_file_content_description”>Pdf file</string>
More Search categories
Version 3.6 introduced more advanced search functionality with categories to surface past images, videos, places, and links. Messages 3.7 reveals work on more specific filters like Restaurants, Screenshots, and Streets, while renaming a handful of the current ones.
Dedicated camera/gallery button
The “Add” icon in Messages opens a long list of various items users can insert, including emoji, images, GIFs, Stickers, Google Pay, location, and voice messages. Given that users usually just want to insert a photo, the app is now testing a dedicated shortcut that opens an inline gallery.
With version 3.7, we’ve enabled this new gallery/camera button to the right of the text field. Tapping opens a compact camera viewfinder with a shutter, ability to flip lenses, and expand. As users scroll through the gallery, the live preview will shrink to a small circle. The UI is currently still buggy.
How to update?
Version 3.7 of Android Messages is rolling out now via the Play Store. We do not post APKs to download directly given the legal challenges associated with copyright and possibility of removal. Meanwhile, that model is perilous given Android App Bundles and Google Play’s Dynamic Delivery.
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.
Dylan contributed to this article