Google’s default SMS/MMS app, Messenger, has been renamed Android Messages. The name change has just rolled out in the Play Store and arrives as Google prepares for wider adoption of the new Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging standard.

RCS will provide businesses with better ways to brand their communications with consumers, with higher quality multimedia messages and custom sender icons. Though it’s possible to make use of RCS right now, with certain devices (like the Pixel) and on certain networks (like Sprint), there’s no single standard version of RCS yet.

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Ahead of this being finalized, Google has reportedly been making deals with carriers to preload Android Messages onto their devices with the implications of RCS in mind. Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Vodafone are said to be involved, as are Rogers and Telenor.

Google will also be putting Android Messages onto more phones: Google Messenger was previously installed on devices like the Pixel, Android One and Nexus devices.

Regarding the name change, Amir Sarhangi, Head of RCS at Google, told The Verge that it was due to Messenger “becoming more like Android itself” — meaning operated by Google but with stakeholder involvement (that just sounds like any large business to me but hey ho).

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Though it has already been rebranded once (from Messages), the new name makes sense for other reasons: one, the same name is used by Facebook for its messaging app — and when someone mentions Messenger, most likely think “Facebook” rather than “Google” — and two, Google’s Messenger hadn’t really struck the same chord as services like WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage: it doesn’t have much to lose with the rebrand.

For everything you need to know about RCS, hit the link, and download Google Messages from the button below.

Scott Adam Gordon
Scott Adam Gordon is a European correspondent for Android Authority. Originally from the UK, Scott has been tinkering with Android phones since 2011 and writing about them full-time since 2014. He now lives in Berlin with three roommates he never sees. Befriend him on Twitter and Google+ at the links.
  • ZMe Ul

    changing the app’s name doesn’t make it more or less useful at what it supposed to be doing
    I swear to god, these companies go full retard sometimes

    • ADofCLE

      Actually they want to turn it into an iMessage competitor. Then in about 2 years, Google will announce the death of Allo and then Google Assistant will be built into the keyboard, then iMessage will come to Android and no one will use Android Messages.

  • marpad

    Seriously Google… Just make a single messaging app. Now we have Android Messages, Hangouts, Allo&Duo… Why? Merge them together!

    • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

      Android Messages, Hangouts, Allo, Duo, and people also use Skype, YIM, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp, Jabber and many more.

      How many messengers do you have installed on your phone? It’s insane.

      By 2025, we’ll need 32 GB of RAM in the phones to be able to run the 300 messaging apps that don’t talk to each other.

  • Brøssøvítçh

    Yeah! And why the F*** did they remove f***ing merged conversations in f***ing Hangouts. Seriously, Google needs to stop removing all the good and useful stuff like that..

  • Nathan Schlenker

    add SMS messaging to allow and ditch hangouts and messages. then combine Allo and duo together.

  • Dusty

    This is excellent news. Now people will think less of Google messenger as bloatware and more of it as a stock messaging app.

  • M3EEKS

    Hangouts

  • Spindelhalla

    The one thing Google are utterly incompetent with. Messaging apps.

    • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

      I disagree. They’re incompetent about so much more.

    • Eddie Calzone

      Microsoft is no better, with Yammer, Skype, Skype for Business (totally separate app, also sucks), Lync, Teams…

  • Flow

    Probably should rename Allo to Failure

  • noonenooneooni

    Runs like shit on a Pixel. Super laggy. Pretty embarrassing to have such a poorly running internal app on your internal flagship device. Total garbage.

  • Scr-U-gle

    Is this because the guy in charge at google for messaging said that messaging is an embarrassment on drone, so they have changed the name in the hope that we will forget its a mess?

  • Eddie Calzone

    Google is unilaterally defining a new standard, which no other apps yet use, and which Apple has no plans to adopt for iMessage or others. So that we can share location data, read receipts, larger attachments, etc.

    It wasn’t long ago that Facebook, Google, Yahoo IM, and others all supported the XMMP open messaging protocol. That meant that ANY chat client with support for XMPP could talk to all of these services seamlessly.

    Companies then realized that in order to monetize their user base, they needed to silo them. Facebook with Messenger (spun off to a separate app so it could harvest even MORE permissions from your phone), Google with a new “solution” every year, and Microsoft with their crappy Skype, Yammer, Lync, and others.

    Points to Hipchat and Slack for continuing to support XMMP. It’s clear evidence that the technology for an open standard was there all along, and can still support modern apps; the vendors just choose to be greedy.

    Like Google.