Google Messages' satellite connectivity support could let you chat with anyone

Google appears to be testing adding satellite messaging to Google Messages, letting you message anyone, according to strings in the app's latest beta APK.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
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Kerry Wan/ZDNET

We already know that Google is introducing satellite connectivity support with Android 15, which would allow the latest Android devices to send messages without needing a mobile or Wi-Fi connection. Now we're learning that this functionality would not necessarily be restricted to first responders and roadside assistance.

Also: How to screen calls on your Android phone and stop the spam deluge

Breaking down the APK file of a beta version of Google Messages uploaded to the Play Store, 9to5Google found strings in version 20240329_01_RC00 that hint at the company's plans (emphasis mine):

  1. "To send and receive, stay outside with a clear view of the sky."
  2. "Satellite messaging may take longer and can't include photos & videos."
  3. "You can message with anyone, including emergency services."

Based on this last string, Google seems poised to let Google Messages users text anyone in their contacts, including emergency services. It's unclear when the feature could be available for beta users to test, but the fact Google is adding user-facing messages to its latest APK file suggest sooner rather than later.

While the satellite connectivity functionality is tied to Android 15, an official release isn't necessarily imminent. Sometimes, new features don't make it out of beta. When this feature does start to trickle out, however, we'll be sure to test it against the competition, including what Apple offers on the iPhone.

Also: How to use Android's 'Photomoji' feature in Google Messages (and why you should)

While the iPhone doesn't allow satellite messaging with anyone in your contacts list, Garmin's inReach satellite communication does. Garmin's service leverages the global Iridium satellite network.

Google has reportedly partnered with Garmin to make Android 15's satellite messaging more effective. 

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