Earlier this year in April, Google rolled out Android 10 Beta 2 for the Pixel devices introducing a new bubbles notification feature. The feature, which works quite a lot like Facebook Messenger’s chat heads, brings up a floating bubble for ongoing conversations. While the feature didn’t make it to the stable release of Android 10, the bubble notification system is expected to completely replace the overlay API in a future release of Android. As of now, the Bubbles API is in development and Android 10 users can manually enable it from within the Developer Options (Settings > Developer Options > Bubbles). Google has urged developers to test the API in their apps, so that the supported apps are ready when the feature is enabled, most likely, in Android 11.
In a bid to prepare its apps for the Bubbles API, Google is also testing it on its messaging apps. Earlier this year in October, we learned that the company was prepping up the Google Messages app for the new bubble notification support. And now, we’ve managed to successfully enable it in the latest release of the app. Our Editor-in-Chief, Mishaal Rahman, enabled the Bubbles functionality in the Messages app, which makes all incoming text messages appear in a bubble. As you can see in the attached screenshots, the notification bubbles appear at the edge of the display with a photo of the contact, the app icon, and a preview of the message. If left untouched, the preview disappears shortly thereafter and is replaced by a notification dot.
Tapping on the notification bubble opens up the conversation in an overlay, allowing you to quickly reply to the message without the need to switch to the Messages app. To dismiss the chat bubble, you can tap and hold on it and drag it to the ‘x’ icon that appears towards the bottom much like what you’d do with a widget or an app icon on your phone’s home screen. You even get the option to completely disable chat bubbles for the app from within the app settings, where you’ll find a new Bubbles setting with a toggle to turn it on or off for the app.
As of now, there’s no word from Google regarding the official release for the feature. But we expect the company to reveal more details when the feature is closer to launch. Until then, if you wish to get a similar feature on your device, you can download Tasker and follow the instructions in this tutorial to enable bubble notifications for any messaging app.
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