Android can be a bit confusing sometimes with the endless possibilities of customization. One of the most confusing areas is with app duplication. Pure Android devices like the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X come with Google’s own Android apps installed. Those apps include Gmail for managing all of your emails, Chrome for browsing the internet, Google Maps for location and GPS, and Google Photos for your images and videos.

Some might think that the phone dialer and text messaging apps that come installed on all Android devices are the same, but that is far from reality. Samsung, Sony, and LG all make their own versions of what they think the standard text messaging apps should be, which is very different than what Google offers in Messenger.

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Google Messenger can replace what Samsung and LG installed on your G5 and Galaxy S7, or any other Android device for that matter. It isn’t perfect, but it is superior to the other text messaging apps in many ways. It’s fast, adhere’s to Google Material Design, can be customized, and is super intuitive to use just like other Google developed apps. It’s now compatible with Android Wear devices like the Huawei Watch, so you can send and receive text messages from your wrist.

Check out the details below.

Key features:

Faster sharing: Select or take pictures and videos directly from the app and share easily. You can even send audio messages to your contacts.
Easy search: Search through contacts and conversation threads to find exactly what you are looking for.
Purposeful design: New, fluid, material design that is intuitive and delightful.
More control: Ability to block SMS senders. No interruptions when you don’t want them!
More features: audio messages, emoji support 😃, stickers, location sharing, colored text threads, message archiving and more.

Messenger is supported on devices running Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, and above.

In order to try out Google Messenger you will need to download it from the Google Play Store (link).

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Once installed, open the app and set it to your default messenger. This will replace the current text messaging app you are using so you will want to swap the icons out on your home screen for easier access.

Set your default messaging app

Some of this information applies only to devices running Android 5.0 and higher.

You can choose the messaging app that your device uses to send and receive text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages.

To set your default messaging app, follow these steps:

  1. Open your device’s Settings menu.
  2. Under “Wireless & networks,” touch More.
  3. Touch Default SMS app.
  4. Choose the app that you’d like to use to send and receive text messages. You may be able to choose from the following options:

Once installed, the app is pretty self explanatory, but I have included some basic instructions from the Google help page if you need it.

Read, create, and send text messages

Read and respond to messages

When you receive a new message, you’ll get a notification on your device. At the top of your screen, you’ll see the new message icon .

  1. To open and read the message in Messenger, touch the new message notification in the notifications panel.
    • If the message has a media file, tap Play to open it.
    • If you have more than one SIM card installed in your device, the message will say what SIM card it was sent to.
    • To see more information about the message, the sender, and when it was sent and received, touch and hold the message.
    • To copy or delete a message, touch and hold the message.
  2. To reply to an open message, tap the “Send message” box and type.
  3. To send your reply, tap Send .
Create and send text messages
  1. Open your device’s All Apps menu .
  2. Tap the Messenger app .
  3. At the bottom right, tap Compose .
  4. In the “To” field, enter a name from your contacts or a mobile phone number.
    • Below the “To” field, you can tap Frequents to choose from frequent contacts, or All contacts to choose from your list of contacts.
    • To send the message to a group, first add one person and then tap Group  . You can add more contacts or more mobile phone numbers. If you’re sending a group message, make sure to turn on group messaging in Messenger settings.
    • If you choose to enter a name or mobile number in the “To” field, matching contacts will appear as you type, if any exist in your contacts. You can touch a suggested recipient or continue entering the phone number.
  5. To write your message, tap the “Send message” box and type.
  6. To save a message as a draft while writing it, tap Back. To resume writing that message, tap the conversation.
  7. To send, tap Send . If you have more than one SIM card installed in your device, you may need to first choose which SIM card you want to use to send the message.