The Google Messages app just passed 1 billion downloads on the Play Store. It’s not uncommon for a Google-made app to hit this total, but for Google Messages it’s significant. Let’s talk about why.

As spotted by Android Police, Google Messages has, at some point in the past few days, passed 1 billion downloads on the Play Store. Technically speaking, that’s an impressive feat for any app even if it is pre-installed such as Google Maps, but Messages isn’t.

Unless you purchase a Pixel or Android One device (or a handful of other devices from different OEMs), Google Messages is not installed on your device by default. Rather, your OEM — whether that be Samsung, LG, OnePlus, or others — has a texting app of its own that is installed on the device to handle SMS messages.

We all know that there are not a billion Pixels out there, so clearly Messages has become a popular alternative messaging app for the wider Android userbase. Why? Messages has long offered a clean, easy user interface that doesn’t skimp on features, for one. The app is regularly updated with options such as dark mode, an image markup tool, and even a handy web interface. The biggest reason, perhaps, might be that Messages supports RCS in several regions independent of carriers. That’s a huge upgrade over SMS that users undoubtedly want.

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