google messenger 7

Tired of the wonky SMS capabilities of Hangouts? Google seems to be tired as well, as it’s trying a new approach: a standalone texting app.

Google Messenger debuted with the Nexus 9 and the Nexus 6, replacing Hangouts in the lineup of apps shown by default on the homescreen. We gave you an early look at it when the app was extracted from a leaked Lollipop build back in October.

There isn’t much to talk about the functionality of the Messenger app, which is fairly standard. Here’s the official description from the Play Store:

  • Faster sharing: Select or take pictures and videos directly from the app and share easily. You can even send audio messages to your contacts.
  • Easy search: Search through contacts and conversation threads to find exactly what you are looking for.
  • Purposeful design: New, fluid, material design that is intuitive and delightful.
  • More control: Ability to block SMS senders. No interruptions when you don’t want them!
  • More features: audio messages, emoji support

The Material-themed design is very bright and bold, though I can’t say I am a huge fan of the layout, which looks overly simplistic to me.

It’s not clear for now what’s going to happen with Hangouts’ texting functionality, though we don’t see Google removing the built-in functionality. As of Lollipop, however, Messenger is the default SMS app.

Google Messenger is now available in the Play Store for devices running Android 4.1 and higher.