Last year, a change to Chrome OS revealed that Messages for Web would be transitioning from Android.com to Google.com. This lined up with the recent transition from the “Android Messages” name to simply “Messages.” Today, a slightly updated version of Messages for Web with RCS settings has gone live on Google.com.
We were first tipped off that this change would be coming by Chrome OS’s Messages integration, part of the “Better Together” initiative between Android and Chrome OS. As the developers knew the domain change was coming, but couldn’t be certain when, both “messages.android.com” and the new “messages.google.com” were included, able to be switched remotely by Google.
The changeover was all but confirmed during MWC last month when Google announced that many new features, like Assistant integration, were coming to Messages. The details of these upcoming features were shared on the new messages.google.com.
On first inspection, one would think that nothing had changed other than the domain. Looking closer, “Settings” is now its own page rather than a dialog, and now contains an “Advanced” section with RCS related settings.
With these settings, you can now toggle whether RCS “chat features” are enabled, and disable read receipts and typing indicators. We were unable to test whether these RCS features are new to Messages for Web, or if only the ability to enable and disable them is new.
The previous version of Messages for Web, without RCS settings, is still live at Android.com. Reportedly, some users are experiencing issues with the old domain before being shown a popup inviting users to switch to the new address. This indicates that the other upcoming features for Messages for Web will likely only launch on the new Google.com address.
Update 3/27: We’ve now determined that whether or not Messages for Web is live at Google.com is dependent on your OS. From Windows, Linux and macOS, messages.google.com/web/ works as seen above, but from Chrome OS, the site redirects you to the Android.com version.
Additionally, according to reader reports, the RCS settings were already available in the old Android.com version, but were not shown unless your device already had access to RCS. Whether or not the change in behavior is intentional is unknown.
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