Google tests floating chat bubble for Messages app
A feature that Google added to the Android Q beta 2 update and then subsequently removed, is being tested again with the Messages app for a future version of Android (11?). Similar to Facebook Messenger’s chat heads, floating chat bubbles appear on the screen with the message sender's picture, the app icon and a preview of the message. Tapping on the bubble will open a floating window where the user can see the entire message thread, quick replies, and any other reply option offered on the Messages app. If the floating chat bubble is allowed to linger without any feedback, the message preview is replaced by a notification dot. To dismiss the bubble, the user drags it down to an "X" icon found near the bottom of the screen similar to how an app is uninstalled.
XDA was able to enable the feature manually, but this is an internal test that Google is running which means that even if you have Android 10 on your phone, the floating chat bubble for Messages will not appear. XDA did not share how it was able to enable it.
Google plans on offering notification bubbles on Android 11 and is recommending that developers start testing out the Bubbles API now. This way, their apps will be ready to handle bubble notifications when Android 11 is released, most likely in September of next year.
If floating chat bubbles are not your cup of tea, no worries. Inside the settings of the Messages app, there will be an option allowing you to disable the feature. But if you want a quick way to read an entire thread without having to open the Messages app, this feature will come in handy. Eventually, Google hopes that other apps support the floating bubble notifications although they obviously work great with messaging apps. The company has said, "Bubbles are great for messaging because they let users keep important conversations within easy reach. They also provide a convenient view over ongoing tasks and updates, like phone calls or arrival times. They can provide quick access to portable UI, like notes or translations, and can be visual reminders of tasks too."