Google Messenger Review

Google Messenger Review

Mar 24, 2015

As Android continues to mature, one of the cooler aspects is the way Google has seen fit to not only build its version of mobile utilities, but to also serve a lot of its apps à la carte. Keep, Calendar, Keyboard, etc are great parts of the OS, but pay of their charm is that they are optional pieces.

When it comes to messaging, most observers would probably agree that Android is very, uh… well… an area of opportunity. Definitely not from a lack of options. Oh no. Between Voice, Hangouts and the deprecated Talk, there are quite a few communication tools. And now, the relatively new Messenger throws its hat into the muddled ring.mes2

Messenger is Google’s homogeneous answer to Android device SMS and MMS communication. It’s a slim offering that acts as a replacement for OEM/carrier messaging apps.

Off the bat, it possesses that streamlined, familiar look that Google is clearly looking for with Material Design. There is a lot of white space and blue accents, with the chatted-with contacts appearing as icon circles towards the top left; for each one, there is a text to the right highlighting the last sent/received communication. To the top right, one gets a search button and the three-dot menu, and at the bottom right, there is a circled “+” button for starting new conversations.

When a contact is selected from the main screen (or a new one initiated), the same mostly white motif shows up. Each sequence is denoted by defined chat bubbles, with the user postings aligning right and the person being chatted with gets their words slanted to the left. From the individual contact settings, one can personalize the colors somewhat, such that the text bubble of the contact can be shaded. Calls can also be initiated directly from the individual “pages.”

The main menu doesn’t provide a whole lot more diversity, but one can set up notifications and set up delivery report.

In practice, it works well, as instant as the built in apps (which isn’t shocking).

It would be nice if there was automatic functionality with Goggle Voice, but it’s hard to knock the clean simplicity. It’s a no-frills presentation that mostly works. Yes, i would have appreciated more customization options, but hey.

Is it good enough to replace built-in options? Yes. It’s not necessarily breathtaking, but merely good enough, and that it an intimidating starting point.

Text Groups and Blacklist People with POWOW

Text Groups and Blacklist People with POWOW

May 22, 2012

Handmark, publisher of various games and creators of Go SMS, have launched their newest SMS replacement app for Android, POWOW. There’s a few features that try to push this above the gaggle of other SMS replacement apps out there. Most importantly, this app is designed for group texts, allowing users to easily send texts to up to 10 people at once. This makes it easier to communicate with groups of friends, coordinating plans like going out at night in a much easier way than through the default Android messaging app. The app supports the current messaging list, MMS transmission, and an easy one-tap button for speech-to-text input.

But what might be the best feature of POWOW? The ability to blacklist people. SMS spammers being annoying? Blacklist them! Is that ex that still texting, and it’s for everyone’s benefit if their text messages just don’t pop up? Then blacklist them. The app is a free ad-supported download, and has a $4.99 in-app purchase to disable ads.