Google Messages is still rolling out its latest update that adds in Fi subscriber’s phone services to the app and web since Hangouts has dropped support for them. While not everyone has received it yet, message categories are beginning to show up in the Google Messages app for some users. These categories will automatically sort your SMS messages into five labels in version 6.9.085 of the app – Transactions, Offers, Personal, One time passwords (which Google is looking to delete automatically after 24 hours, and what looks like ‘more’, though the image cuts off there.
From what we can see in the screenshots (credit: XDA Developers and user Hani Mohamed Bioud) it looks like you will be able to change the category for a specific message so that Google’s machine learning algorithms can adjust to your preferences. Doing so requires you to share that message with Google, so it’s likely that many users will not utilize this feature. I would like to see the ability to create your own labels added to the app, but I first want Google to add the late, great Inbox’s bundles feature into Gmail, though I’m aware that separate teams work on these two products.
Again, message categories are only showing up for a small percentage of users at this time, so there’s no telling when or how it will roll out to everyone else. So long as you keep an eye on the Google Play Store or APK Mirror for an update, you should be good to receive it in due time, unless Google is providing this via a server-side update, which is always possible. According to XDA, the categories aren’t even working yet, so that’s weird. There is currently no mention of message categories coming to the web app version of Google Messages, though it likely will as Google is relatively good at providing feature parity across both. Now that this feature has popped up, I’m beginning to ask myself why it wasn’t a thing all along. Standard SMS feels pretty archaic in its implementation, so I like what Google is doing to re-think it!