Nearly an year after Google updated its Hangouts Android app with support for SMS and MMS messages, the company has released a new, standalone messaging app for its mobile operating system. Dubbed Messenger, the app is compatible with Android devices running version 4.1 or higher, and is available for download on the Play Store.

The app sports Material Design and has all the typical texting app features that one would expect. For example, you can select or take pictures and videos directly from the app and share easily, search your contacts and conversations, send audio messages to your contacts, block SMSs when required, and send emoji. In addition, it also supports colored text threads, message archiving, and more.

Officially confirmed to exist by Google last month, Messenger isn't actually a Hangouts replacement, rather it's intended to coexist with the latter – at least that's what Google says.

"Messenger and Hangouts offer users choice, each have their own benefits", the Mountain View, California-based company said last month, adding that while Hangouts work great for cross platform (web, iOS, Android) and cross medium communications (video, voice, messaging, SMS), Messenger is specially designed to be a quick and easy way to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on Android.

What's your take on the new Messenger app? Do you think creating another standalone app is a good move from Google?