Android Messages now lets users send texts from their computers

19 Jun 2018

Google offices, London. Image: Graphical_Bank/Shutterstock

Google finally makes it possible for Android users to send messages from their PCs.

Google is rolling out desktop support for Android Messages, allowing users to use their PC to view messages received on their phone as well as send messages.

The company has been working for the last few years to improve the Android messaging experience, with the goal of creating a service to rival Apple’s iMessage.

Get the message

Google is introducing Messages for web over the next few weeks, a feature that had been highly requested by users. Users just select the ‘Messages for web’ option in the menu of the Messages mobile app. Stickers, emoji and image attachments can be sent via web as well as text.

Messaging for web representation

Messages for web. Image: Google

Smart reply

Much like the implementation of this feature in Gmail, Smart Reply offers up response suggestions based on the message received using AI. For now, Smart Reply responses are only available in English, but other languages will be included in the feature over time.

Sneak peek

Link previews were another oft-requested feature, so the next time a friend sends an article or other link, an inline preview will appear in the conversation with a thumbnail image if applicable.

One-tap passwords

In the age of two-factor authentication, single-use passwords are increasingly common. A new feature in Messages will allow you to copy the password directly from the service with a single tap.

Get great GIFs

Users can now search within the messaging app to find the perfect reaction to their friends’ news.

Most of the features will be coming to the Messages app within the next week. While you may not see the Messages for web feature just yet, be patient as it is likely to be a staged roll-out.

Rich communication

These new features are steps towards Google’s implementation of Rich Communication Services (RCS) inside Android Messages in the form of Chat. While Chat is not a standalone app, it is a new set of tools within the Android Messages app already installed on handsets.

Anil Sabharwal is the team lead of the Chat project and is the man responsible for the suite of popular Google Photos apps released several months ago. He hopes to get RCS-level messaging to Android users within the next couple of years. More than 50 mobile carriers and a large group of handset manufacturers have adopted the new RCS protocol, with most likely to be on board by the end of this year.

Google offices, London. Image: Graphical_Bank/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects