March 4, 2024

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The new Google Messages profile pictures will replace contact photos

The new Google Messages profile pictures will replace contact photos

With Google making profiles in Messages official yesterday, one thing you’ll notice is how these photos will replace any contact photos you’ve set manually.

Profiles allow you to specify the name and photo that other users see in the conversation. If the person you’re talking to has set up a profile, this is the photo you’ll see inside Google Messages from now on. The company confirmed to us yesterday that this will replace any preset photo, such as one you added manually via the Google Contacts app.

However, Google will not override the contact name you set.

Some may not like this behavior because it goes beyond something you have intentionally orchestrated. For comparison, iMessage will ask you before changing your profile picture and you have the ability to decline the update. However, other messaging services do not provide this option.

One defense argument is that most people don’t meticulously keep contact photos, with many conversations only seeing initials as an image, and these profiles would be a huge improvement. Google said that this new feature “addresses the problem of receiving messages from phone numbers that are not saved in your contacts.”

The ad also noted that profiles are “particularly useful in group chats so you can see who all the other participants in the group are.”

Meanwhile, the color you set appears for your custom bubbles and the recipient, which is how it works on other services, like Meta/Facebook Messenger.

Profiles started rolling out in mid-November, and are not yet widely available Trial version users.

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