I’m a bit confused about Google Messenger and why is exists alongside Hangouts, but Google’s latest update for it at least makes it more useful.
Google Messenger version 1.4 now offers sticker packs and location sharing. You can download up to three sticker packs, some of which are animated. Locations are shared in a style similar to Hangouts; the recipient receives a small screenshot of a map with your coordinates as an image file, along with a quick launch link to Google Maps.
Google has also added faster scrolling to the app, so if you’ve archived months and months of conversation, you can grab the scroll bar and jump ahead of all the noise to the more recent thread.
The app has started rolling out to Android phones everywhere, though it doesn’t appear to have been updated in the Play Store just yet.
Why this matters: I still have no idea why Messenger exists. At first I thought it was an SMS alternative for low-end Android phones, for which the beefier Hangouts app would be slow. But as it grows and Google introduces new features to it, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what its deal is.
If you use Hangouts with SMS integration, you don’t really need this particular app. But if you’d rather not integrate your IMs with your text messaging conversations, at least there’s another Google-provided option available. I hope that someday we’ll understand the real reason that Google Messenger exists.
At least the stickers it’s bundled in are absolutely adorable.