Interesting changes are being made by Google to the Messages homescreen, including the removal of the navigation drawer and the addition of prominent branding to the Android app.
The Google Messages homescreen has undergone another update with beta version 20230717 01 RC00.
With this redesign, the message organization feature that had recently been enabled for beta users is not present. In the meantime, Google has slightly modified the search filters. This new appearance has not yet been implemented broadly.
You only get a magnifying glass icon in place of a full-width search bar. Google’s four-color “G” logo is in the top-left corner, followed by the word “Messages.”
With those settings now under the account menu, the navigation drawer and its hamburger icon have been deleted. Your data in Messages, Messages settings, Help & feedback, Spam & blocked, Mark all as read, and Device pairing are displayed in that order. Google has shifted “Select theme” inside the settings menu in the interim.
Early in 2022, after previously solely using an overflow menu, Messages added a navigation drawer. This was considered to be defying current Google app design trends at the time.
A small change in search sees Google drop the “Categories” carousel for a standard grid that requires less scrolling: Starred, Images, Videos, Places, Links, Unread, Known, and Unknown.
In comparison to programs like Gmail, which has a huge list of categories and labels, and Calendar, Messages’ navigation menu was ineffective, included just a few items, and was unnecessary. This account menu strategy is more effective and is used by other first-party apps like the Google Play Store. The complete search box was likewise superfluous, despite being a Google app hallmark.
More interesting to me is the “G” logo in the top-left corner that serves as very explicit Google branding that denotes how this is how the company wants you to message. It can be seen as part of Google’s ongoing RCS campaign.
We’re seeing this homescreen redesign rolled out with version 20230608_01_RC00 of Google Messages that was released yesterday to the beta channel. This redesign is not yet widely available, but feels like a definite modernization.