Google Messages might add a side navigation menu soon
Google Messages is the primary text messaging application for Android devices, though some manufacturers still prefer to ship their own alternatives. Messages has received a few changes over the past few months, and now it looks like another significant update could be on the way, according to a report by 9to5Google.
Google is apparently working on a new side menu for the Messages application, according to evidence discovered by 9to5Google in an app teardown. It appears to function like Gmail’s side menu, with menu options to switch between all messages, starred messages, archived messages, and spam/blocked messages. There are also quick-access links for pairing a new device, changing the theme, and marking all as read.
The change is a bit surprising, considering Google has been moving away from “hamburger” menus and side navigation panels in other applications. For example, the Play Store added a bottom tab bar in 2019, and later replaced its side menu with a smaller popup accessible by tapping the profile icon.
There are only four categories right now, so it almost makes more sense for Google to add a bottom tab bar, like is already present on the Play Store and other applications. However, if more categories/pages are in the works that would quickly outgrow the tab bar, that would better explain the side menu.
9to5Google also found evidence that a new media upload feature is in development, which would upload images and video directly to Google Photos and include a link in the message, instead of sending the image itself through SMS (which usually adds compression). That would be another move to side-step some of the most common problems with texting over SMS, alongside the iMesssage reaction support that started rolling out this week.
Neither of these features have started rolling out yet, and it’s possible they could be scraped at the last minute — we’ll have to wait and see.