Google's default RCS client is rolling out a Samsung-specific interface for the Galaxy S21 range, according to reports earlier this week. Install the One UI version of Google Messages on non-Samsung smartphones, including Pixel phones, to see how it looks and functions.

Google Messages version 7.9.052 (Pine RC01.phone Samsung dynamic) is responsible for allowing the One UI look. You will want to force close the software after downloading the APK split/bundle — instructions here — to enable the redesign to work properly.

Following that, a big header appears above the search field. The name of the app is listed, as well as a handy count of how many unread SMS texts/RCS chats you have. The color of the box is an off-white, very light grey. When the dark theme is available, the AMOLED black is used above the messaging list, but the messaging list stays gray. If you don't have a complete list of texts, this two-tone color shows at the bottom of your phone.

On a Pixel, you can load the One UI version of Google Messages


The fact that the “Start chat” FAB in the bottom-right corner is a circle is the only other concession made for Samsung smartphones. A soft shade of blue is used in addition to removing the pill and clear text.

For those interested in learning more about One UI, sideloading this version of Google Messages is a good way to do so, but it doesn't make any sense on Pixel screens. The screens on Google phones aren't tall enough to need blank space to press down material for your fingers, as my colleague Ben Schoon pointed out on a recent episode of Alphabet Scoop.

In the meantime, Google is likely to remove the option to load a new OEM version of Messages in the future. Incoming texts and RCS chats are correctly received, but it's uncertain if there are any drawbacks to sticking with this choice.

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