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Google Messages replaces the default viewfinder with new camera UI

Google Messages is getting a new viewfinder.

Published onMarch 14, 2024

Google Messages SMS stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Google Messages is pushing out an update that introduces a new camera UI.
  • The new viewfinder loses many of the camera options present in the system camera app.
  • Users can now directly switch between photo and video mode.

Taking photos or videos within the Google Messages app is going to look a little different soon. Google is releasing an update that will give the app its own custom built-in camera.

According to 9to5Google, Google has started rolling out a server-side update to the Google Messages app. Discovered in the latest beta version (20240312_00_RC00), that update is introducing a new viewfinder.

For context, Messages formerly used the default system camera app when attempting to use the camera shortcut next to the text field. After the update, however, Messages is now reportedly using a built-in camera.

This new viewfinder differs from the default camera in a few unfortunate ways. Most notably, the new viewfinder strips away some of the camera controls that were available before, like choosing the exposure level and the white balance. But you still have the zoom presets, the flash toggle, and you can switch between the rear and front cameras.

It does, however, add the convenience of being able to swap back and forth between photo and video mode at will. Previously, the app would ask whether you wanted to take a photo or a video before opening up the fullscreen UI. To switch to the other mode, you had to exit out of the UI you were in and select again.

Of course, Google could always add more features in the future. But, for the moment, the UI is fairly lackluster.

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