Google is starting to plug the gaps, bit by bit, in what’s been an all-over-the-place messaging product until now. Starting today, for example, the company is rolling out desktop support for Android Messages, which will let you send and receive texts from a computer.It’s a byproduct of Google’s efforts over the last few years to improve the Android messaging experience, efforts that have included adding new features and working with carriers to upgrade their networks to handle Rich Communication Services (RCS). Major chat platforms like iMessage and Facebook Messenger, of course, have desktop versions, so it’s a no-brainer that Google needed to add desktop support as well.
Google product management director Sanaz Ahari walked through some of the new features and improvements to Android Messages in a blog post today, showing off updates that include the ability to send GIFs and smart replies.
“With Android Messages,” she writes, “we’re creating a messaging experience that’s available on multiple devices, lets you share whatever you want to share, and makes it easy to take action on your messages with Google AI.”
To get started sending texts via desktop, head to messages.android.com on your desktop browser. Then, open the Android Messages app on your phone, select the More options menu and then “Messages for web.” Finally, scan the QR code on your computer using your phone.
Today’s news underscores that Google thinks its best shot at success in the messaging space is Android Messages, rather than its failed Allo messaging app. There is something of a land grab going on right now among the dominant messengers, and Google’s increased focus in this area is another example of the big services trying to beef up their offerings and lock in users.
Arguably, messengers are also only now getting the importance and investment from big companies that they deserve, as those companies realize that people’s time spent on and attitude toward social media is likely to ebb and flow. But messaging, of course, is a must-have — and users may be making picks among the various services that are hard if not impossible to shake.