The list view is getting a new indicator
If you’re one of those people who take forever to respond to messages, turning on read receipts for every messaging platform you use is always a good idea, if only to be transparent with your friends or colleagues. Many of the top messaging apps out there like Signal and Facebook Messenger come packed with this feature so that you know when your messages have been read by your contacts and vice versa. Google Messages has had this ability since the inception of RCS, but it just got new read receipt icons at the bottom of each bubble in a chat. Now, the app is bringing those delivery status indicators to the conversation list, so you won’t have to open a message to know if it’s been seen or not.
In the conversation pane, Messages now displays read receipts to the left of your message. A pair of checkmarks inside a circle will appear if the message has been sent to the recipient. Those icons turn into a solid circle with checkmarks inside if the message has been read.
The latest change is useful as it allows users to see which of their messages have yet to be read and which ones have been seen. However, the downside is that the conversation list becomes more cluttered, especially with two checkmarks appending your message alongside the “You:” label.
In addition to more visible read receipts, Messages appears to be testing a new counter for unread messages in your inbox, as per 9to5Google. These counters will show up in the right corner of an unopened message, indicating how many messages in that conversation are still unread. This replaces the dot next to the timestamp, which does nothing to indicate how many messages are waiting to be viewed.
These tweaks are currently available only on the beta channel. Both changes will be nifty additions to Messages, particularly if you want to break the habit of reading a text and then closing the message window without responding. Read receipts in general are a great reminder to avoid opening a message unless you’re certain you can answer it right away. And the thought of read receipts will have your fingers typing away on the keyboard as soon as you open it.