After rolling out a new icon and previewing several upcoming features last week, Google Messages is now testing new delivered and read status indicators. 

Today, those with RCS Chat enabled have straightforward “Delivered” indicators and “Read” receipts. Those words simply appear below your last sent message between the sent time and lock icon for end-to-end encryption (E2EE).

Updated: The application is now testing a system of checkmarks that has three indicator states that slightly differ between individual and group conversations.

In individual chats:

  • 1 checkmark = Sent
  • 2 checkmarks = Delivered
  • 2 filled-in checkmarks = Read

In group chats:

  • 1 checkmark = Sent
  • 2 checkmarks = Delivered
  • “Seen by [x]” or “Read by all” = Read

If it were just the first two checkmarks (as we originally believed), this would be a fairly standard approach (e.g., Signal and Telegram) to delivered/read in messaging apps. iMessage just uses text, and that is the better approach in our opinion. Checkmarks are ubiquitous and might be more familiar to people, but being able to just read out “Delivered” and “Read” requires less translation, no matter how obvious the icons are. 

  • Google Messages delivered read
  • Google Messages delivered read

However, the fact there’s a difference between two checkmarks and two filled-in checkmarks is an unnecessary complication. At the very least, Google Messages should display an explainer before starting this test and if/when this capability rolls out.

At the moment, this looks to just be a test. It’s not widely rolled out on devices we checked this afternoon, and hopefully Google’s testing will vindicate the current/old Messages approach to delivered and read.

More on Google Messages:

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com