Google Messages app reaches 1 billion downloads without being pre-installed on Android

The Google Messages app just passed 1 billion downloads on the Play Store. It’s not uncommon for a Google-made app to hit this total, but for Google Messages it’s significant. Let’s talk about why.

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As spotted by Android Police, Google Messages has, at some point in the past few days, passed 1 billion downloads on the Play Store. Technically speaking, that’s an impressive feat for any app even if it is pre-installed such as Google Maps, but Messages isn’t.

Unless you purchase a Pixel or Android One device (or a handful of other devices from different OEMs), Google Messages is not installed on your device by default. Rather, your OEM — whether that be Samsung, LG, OnePlus, or others — has a texting app of its own that is installed on the device to handle SMS messages.

We all know that there are not a billion Pixels out there, so clearly Messages has become a popular alternative messaging app for the wider Android userbase. Why? Messages has long offered a clean, easy user interface that doesn’t skimp on features, for one. The app is regularly updated with options such as dark mode, an image markup tool, and even a handy web interface. The biggest reason, perhaps, might be that Messages supports RCS in several regions independent of carriers. That’s a huge upgrade over SMS that users undoubtedly want.

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