Google Messages satellite messaging may let you send to ‘anyone’

Ahead of Android 15, Google Messages is continuing work on supporting satellite connectivity, with the latest revealing more about how it might work.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

A trio of explanatory strings in beta version 20240329_01_RC00 today provides some more insight into how satellite messaging works in Google Messages:

  • “To send and receive, stay outside with a clear view of the sky”
  • “Satellite messaging may take longer and can’t include photos & videos”
  • “You can message with anyone, including emergency services”

The first two points are pretty self-explanatory, and it makes sense why you’re limited to sending just text. The third suggests that you’re not limited to emergency services and can message “anyone” in your contacts via SMS. This would match the “two-way messaging” capability that Garmin, which appears to be a partner on this, offers.

On the iPhone, you can connect to emergency responders, roadside assistance, and share your location via Find My, but not message any contact. That said, you can share information — “Your answers to the emergency questionnaire, A map with your location, and The messages that you exchange with emergency services” — with people set as your emergency contacts.

Android 15 introduces a system-level “Auto-connected to satellite” notification that conveys how “You can send and receive messages without a mobile or Wi-Fi network.” There’s a shortcut to “Open Messages” and a satellite icon in the status bar.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

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