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Stadia to become Google’s next messaging app

Over the years, Google has become infamous for creating and “killing” messaging apps, as well as putting messaging into apps where it may or may not be useful, like in YouTube. Now, Google is preparing to launch messaging into yet another app, Stadia.

Right now, there’s only two ways to talk to your friends while playing Google Stadia — through a game’s built-in voice chat or through Stadia’s own cross-game party voice system. If you want to just send a friend a quick message, perhaps to see what time they want to play, you need to be able to reach them through another app.

Simple messaging has been a core part of gaming platforms for well over a decade now. On many counts, it’s surprising that Stadia doesn’t have messaging, between its usefulness to gamers and Google’s zeal for creating messaging apps. It seems this may now be poised to change.

Stadia version 2.16 arrived in the Play Store this week, and our APK Insight team dug in to see what Google has planned next for their streaming service. Among other details, like more Android TV prep and the ability to share your captures, we discovered numerous references in the app’s code to messages and chat.

Google Stadia 2.16 preps 4K/HDR for Android TV, capture link sharing, more

In the teardown, we found a significant number of new references to the ability to “chat,” have “conversations,” and send “direct messages,” all of which is being developed behind an internal flag. All of this strongly points to Stadia gaining a full in-app messaging experience.

Message History panel title

Text chat









We also found a new privacy setting — added in a previous version, but not made available yet — that pretty explicitly calls out the ability for people to send you “chat messages.”

Privacy setting defining who can message you.

Send you chat messages

While the idea of “another Google messaging app” is enough to make some people groan, Stadia is honestly a prime candidate for messaging, to keep gamers in touch without relying solely on voice chat.

Considering many, if not most Stadia players already have the app installed on their phone, it would make a lot of sense for Stadia’s messaging capabilities to launch there. That said, things still appear to be in an early state, and therefore we don’t expect Stadia’s chat capabilities to launch any time soon.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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