After testing in October, Google Messages looks to be widely rolling out a redesign of read receipts with icons replacing words (sent, delivered, and read).

Update 3/15: Google has updated its support documentation to explain the new Messages Read Receipt icons:

  • Timer: Your message is being sent.
  • Single check: Your message has been sent.
  • Double check: Your message has been delivered.
  • Color-filled double check: Your message has been read.

Now official, Google is open to feedback in the community thread of via the in-app mechanism Tap (Your profile > Help & feedback > Send feedback):

If you have a question or concern that is not answered in the article above, please submit feedback (instructions below) and/or post a question in the forum.

Original 3/7: Previously, the status of an RCS chat would cycle through “Sending,” “Sent,” “Delivered,” and “Read.” Google Messages has now switched to an approach that takes after other messaging apps.

Sending… Stopwatch/clock
Sent One checkmark, empty
Delivered Two checkmarks, empty
Read Two checkmarks, filled

In the new system, group conversations use “Seen by [x]” and “Read by all.”

Very few people had this new icon system for read receipts in late October, with more Android users in the Google Messages Beta gaining the redesign in recent weeks. As of the past few days, those using the stable version of the app are now seeing it. 

Following the testing period, it’s unfortunate that Google did not add a prompt thoroughly explaining each icon. At first glance, it’s not as obvious as just using words. That said, feedback must have proved positive for the company to proceed in widely rolling it out.

Old (Messages for web) vs. new

One possible upside of this approach is that icons are more universal than text (and required translations), but again it’s not immediately straightforward and can be quite confusing. For example, you might not realize the difference between empty and filled checkmarks if the first person you use this system with doesn’t read your message immediately.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: