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Android is finally catching up to Apple with major messaging updates

Text messaging is the most popular form of communication among smartphone users these days. Who takes the time to actually call someone anymore? And email? Forget about it.

Apple was ahead of the curve with the popularity of texting, which is why it added tons of cool features to its iMessage app. You can collaborate with others in a conversation, decorate messages with stickers, share songs, videos and more. Tap or click here to learn 12 texting tips you didn’t know the iPhone could do.

But, if you’re an Android user, you’ve kinda been left out in the cold — until now. A major update is about to bring Android users into the wonderful world of vibrant texting.

Messages app to get a major upgrade

This week, Google announced it’s updating its Messaging app on Android for users in the U.S. It’s upgrading traditional SMS text messaging with more useful chat features powered by Rich Communication Services (RCS). This technology will make your messages really pop.

Image source: Google

Once your app is updated, you’ll be able to message friends over Wi-Fi or mobile data, and send and receive high-resolution images and videos. You’ll also finally be able to see if they’ve received your latest messages. Tap or click here to find out how to tell if someone read your text.

More features to be excited about is the ability to send audio messages, emoji, stickers and more. You can also send and receive payments with Google Pay.

Related: 5 best text messaging apps for Android

Group chats are also being improved. You will be able to name groups, add and remove people and see if anyone has not seen the latest messages.

How to get the Messages app update

The update was available earlier this year in the U.K., France and Mexico. It’s beginning to roll out in the U.S. now and, according to Google, should “be broadly available in the U.S. by the end of the year.”

If you already have the Messages app on your device, you’ll be prompted to “enable chat features” when the update is ready. If you don’t have the app, you can download it from the Google Play Store.

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Be careful what you send

There is something you won’t like about Messages, though. RCS does not support end-to-end encryption the way Apple’s iMessage does. This means your messages aren’t as secure.

So you might want to think twice before texting sensitive information to someone. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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