After a brief flirtation with Hangouts as the central hub for messing, Google has given Android a new SMS app. Messenger is available to download for free from the Play Store now, and it’s really rather good.
As well as a beautiful Material Design-infused UI that surpasses the other Material text apps like Textra and QKSMS, Messenger is packed with features that make it a fully fledged replacement for whatever app you’re using for text messaging right now.
Top features in Messenger
It’s great for sharing videos, photos and audio clips—tapping the attachment icon when composing a message opens a mini window at the bottom of the screen that enables you to snap or record your attached file in real time (or you can select a pre-exisitng file, of course).
It’s a new UI idea that we don’t remember seeing elsewhere, and is the kind of thing that could be adopted to great effect in other messaging apps.
There’s also beefed-up searching, and colour coding for messages to help you find your key content, as well as an archiving system to keep your main screen clear.
Block junk texts
Perhaps the best of all is the in-built ability to block junk texts.
Simply tap on a text within your Inbox, hit the three dots menu button and select People & Options.
Here you can assign custom settings for individual contacts, including custom notification alerts, to help you always identify incoming messages from your most important contacts.
But there’s also a Block option.
Tapping this effectively blacklists that contact and their number. Their messages won’t be blocked from entering your phone entirely, but you won’t get a notification for a message from them, and that message will be automatically archived. In short, you’ll never see it unless you go looking for it.
A new text messaging app won’t be among the most exciting features of the new Lollipop and Material Design movement, but it may well be one of its most successful. By moving away from the clutter and confusion of Hangouts, Messenger is an ideal example of a highly focussed app that does one thing and does it extremely well.
Messenger is available for all Android phones running Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) and above.