Google Messages is currently Google’s flagship texting app, and it shows. The service is receiving a constant stream of updates. It only recently started experimenting with end-to-end encrypted group chats and Signal-style read receipts. The latest test in line is a redesigned photo picker that makes it much easier to access older pictures.
The new photo picker loses the horizontally scrolling interface of old for a more intuitive vertical scrolling one, reports. The interface expands much further to the top when you scroll, allowing you to see more images at once. In the old view, you were limited to a total of four or six images at the time, while the new look gives you up to 15 previews. At the same time, quick access to the camera and your device folders is retained. The camera preview is still in the top left corner, though the “Gallery” has been renamed to “Folders.”
Interestingly, this means that Google is sticking with a custom implementation for the photo picker in its flagship messaging app. The company only recently introduced an Android-wide photo picker that is backported all the way to Android 4.4 KitKat. Google even added that method to Google Voice, its online messaging and calling service. Seemingly, the feature isn’t fit for Google Messages, though.
It looks like the new Google Messages photo picker interface is a part of a server-side a/b test that’s rolling out to a limited audience only. So far, we haven’t been able to spot it on our phones, and there aren’t many reports on the web on the redesign. Still, given that the interface already looks finished and doesn’t seem to come with major issues, we assume that it will roll out to more people in subsequent weeks or months. Don’t forget to leave auto-updates enabled to get your chance to see the new look in action.