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Google's New Messenger App for Android 5.0 – APK Download Available

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Android phones are getting an upgrade from the original Messages app into a new app from Google simply called Messenger.

This app will be available to users with Android 5.0 Lollipop devices. Instead of combining the SMS & MMS features into the Google+ Hangouts app as some previous phones allowed you to do, the new app is a complete redesign of the old messages app and it functions alongside any other apps you are running.

Features

Everything is simple and straightforward with this messaging app. When you first open it up you will be taken to the open chats screen, where you will see all the SMS conversations you have been carrying on (if you imported these from the previous app or an old phone) as well as adding new chats with your contacts or an entered number.

Some of the features with this new app include:

  1. Group Conversations. Start a message to any number of contacts at once and keep it going by using a group message. You don’t need to hassle with sending the exact same message to a large number of people one by one, you can instead accomplish it all at once and also use the same group message if you need to send a later communication to the those group members.
  2. In-app Camera. While you can still send picture messages by attaching them from the gallery, you are given the option on the messenger app to take a photo directly in the app and send it to your contacts. This is great for shortening the process and makes sharing a whole lot easier. Attachments are also easier to add, because you don’t have to leave the conversation screen to find what you’re looking for. You can swipe up on the lower information bar and look through photos, videos, or record a voice message to send to your contact, all without leaving the screen once.
  3. Colored Chat Windows. This might not be performance-related, but it certainly makes the app look nicer. Once you start a chat with one of your contacts, the information bars and text bubbles in that conversation screen will automatically turn a certain color based on the individual contact.
  4. One Touch Calling. New to this app is the one touch calling feature. Simply click on the phone icon in the top right corner of the conversation screen and you will automatically be dialing their number with your default calling app.
  5. Notification Settings. Okay, you caught on, this is not a new feature. But, Google’s new app has made it easier to adjust your notification settings for receiving messages so that you won’t get bothered when you’re in the middle of something important or if you want to take a quick nap. Rather than searching through your phone notification settings for SMS or MMS messages, you can change how you will be alerted via the app settings.

How it Works
This new Google Messenger App works with your SMS plan, not your data, although it looks very much like some of the data messaging apps available on the market. It is basically giving the old messages app for Android phones a face lift to bring it into modern times with a sleek new look and added convenience features. It is separate from other apps, so there’s no need to sync any apps and information together in order to get it to work properly.

How to Get it

Although it has not been officially released yet, you can download an unofficial APK online and test it today. Users have said the app can work with Android 4.4 Kitkat devices as well. For all others, you’ll just have to wait for the release of Android 5.0 to take advantage of this Messenger app!