OK, I know what you’re thinking—the last thing we need is another messaging service from Google. But this one might actually be good.
Instead of a whole new app, Google is building its new messaging service right into the Photos app. It’s basically Google Photos DM, as it only works if the person you’re sending a pic to has the Google Photos app installed, like Twitter’s or Instagram’s DM. Then when you share a message via Photos, you’ll be starting a conversation just like if you sent a MMS through Android Messages.
If the recipient doesn’t have messages, sharing will work like before—creating a dedicated album and then sharing that via a Google Photos link. But the new service definitely seems designed to keep people inside the app, despite Google’s claim that “this feature isn’t designed to replace the chat apps you already use.” As described, users can “like photos or comment in the conversation, and you can easily save these photos or videos to your own gallery.”
It’s unclear how you’ll access your DM list or even if you’ll be able to, but based on the screenshots and the description, messages will be saved as running conversations. That makes it feel very organic, especially if Google gives users a way to jump into old messages.
Color us skeptical about every new messaging service Google launches, but we’re pretty psyched about this one. Not only does it work across all platforms and come preinstalled on every Android phone, but it will seriously streamline photo sharing in Google Photos. It wasn’t bad before, but it wasn’t great either, and this looks to be an excellent compromise.
Google says the new service will roll out over the next week to Android phones, iPhones, and the web.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.