Google’s iMessage competitor may soon be getting an upgrade.
The company is testing Snapchat-like augmented reality effects in its Android Messages texting app, according to a new report.
The folks at XDA Developers uncovered five unreleased AR effects in the messages app, and they’re actually pretty cool. You can see them all in the video below, but they include a fireworks effects, an angel (complete with a halo, of course), confetti, balloons, and a clever airplane animation.
At this point, it’s not clear if this is anything more than a test or when these might be more widely available. Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the feature.
Augmented reality effects are becoming a somewhat expected feature in messaging apps, so it’s not surprising that Google would e experimenting with this. One thing that is notable: these effects seem to be pretty polished for test features. As the video points out, the 3D animations are able to track head movements accurately (best viewed with the angel and halo effect). And even the more simple animations, like the balloons and confetti, are impressively rendered.
Overall, it would be a nice addition to Android Messages, which Google has been trying to position as something of an iMessage competitor for Android users (that ambition has so far been slow-going, due to a variety of complications). But new features like these AR effects could make Android Messages a more appealing alternative than other texting apps.
So while Android may never have a true iMessage competitor, the existing options are, at least, getting a whole lot better.