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This should be the future of Android messaging

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I know, I know: According to almost every tech publication out there, this week is all about Magical and Revolutionary Things™ in the iOS universe. But let’s set aside the superlative-slinging wizard-wand for a moment — ’cause here in the land o’ Android, we’ve got some serious thinking to do.

We’re nearly two weeks into the release of Google’s Android 11 Beta, y’see, and I can’t help but obsess a bit over what this software suggests could — or at least should — come next. (And just think: If Google does in fact move forward with what I’m proposing, iPhone users can expect to see the same exact thing added to iOS in another five years! Hey-oh!)

At this point, as I laid out in a recent newsletter, Android 11 strikes me as coming down to three main themes: smarter privacy, smarter messaging, and smarter controls for the ways we interact with media and devices. The privacy part is arguably the most important, but the more I’ve lived with the messaging changes, the more I’ve come to appreciate how meaningful they are — and the more I’ve come to contemplate what other improvements they could pave the way for in a future release.

The Android messaging mashup: Part I

Before we dive into the future, let’s do a quick recap of the present: Android 11, in case you haven’t been paying attention, has a couple of noteworthy new communication-related touches — both of which seem relatively inconsequential on the surface but start to show their value as you actually use ’em and experience their effect in the real world.

First is a revamp of the Android notification panel in which conversation-related notifications — from any app or service — get separated out into their own special section at the top. Then, for any alert that shows up in that section, you can press and hold the notification to easily set its sender as a priority-level person.

JR

Doing so pins that person’s notifications to the top of the Conversations section and causes their profile photo to appear as its own separate icon within your status bar whenever a notification from them is present. And here’s the key part of all of this: Everything looks and acts the same, no matter what app or service is involved.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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