Google has released a public beta of its new Messages app (formerly known as Android Messages).
The beta program is currently full, but keep an eye on the signup page for an opening when it becomes available again. Like other Android beta programs, it's a simple opt-in process – you don't need a special invitation.
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"The Open Beta gives users the opportunity to test, and provide input and feedback, on experimental features not yet released to the general public," Google said in a public announcement.
When you've successfully joined the program, you'll receive all future updates to the app. These might includes some early bugs, though Google's beta releases are typically quite stable.
It's good to talk
At the moment, no new features seem to have been rolled out to testers, but hopefully future updates to the app will include the Rich Communication Services (RCS) that Google began rolling out in the UK and France last month.
RCS is Google's attempt to create a secure messaging app like WhatsApp, Signal, Viber and Telegram. There's no timeframe yet for when it will roll out globally, but the new Messages beta is a promising sign, and more secure alternatives to SMS are always welcome.
Via Android Police