Google Messages changing contact photos with Profile discovery | Tech

Profile discovery was announced last November and it’s now seeing a wider Google Messages rollout with the most obvious change being updated contact photos.

If you sign-in with your Google Account when using Messages (as evidenced by your profile picture appearing in the top-right corner and access to QR code-less Device pairing), “Profile Sharing” kicks in.

This Profile, which is tied to your phone number, consists of a picture and name (there’s the option to use an initial instead) that you choose. Going forward, that image will appear in Google Messages conversations that you have with others, including 1:1 and group conversations.

Google said this “addresses the problem of receiving messages from phone numbers not saved in your contacts” and that it will be “particularly useful in group chats so that you know who all the other participants in the group are.” It might be an improvement over just seeing initials/letters in lieu of a photo.

It will change what appears in the Google Messages homescreen and inside conversations (at the top-left corner and in the new Contacts page). Google is specifically overriding any photos you may have manually set in Google Contacts. Custom names are not impacted.

Some people greatly dislike this change and prefer images they set on their own. There’s no way to override this new behavior.

The only thing you can do is set your own preference: Messages settings > Advanced > Profile discovery. This opens the Google Account page to turn Profile Sharing on/off. In turn, you can ask others to do the same.

This Google Messages/Account feature is now seeing a wider rollout in…

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