Just because there's a big announcement tomorrow, it doesn't mean the app updates have to take a break. Version 1.5 of Google's Messenger app popped up today, bringing with it a cool treat for users on the Android M Developer Preview 3. This update brings an implementation of the new Direct Share API in Android 6.0, allowing Messenger to add multiple contacts right to the share menu and saving us all a few taps when we want to send a link to our favorite friends.

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Left: share menu before without targets. Center: new conversation pop-up. Right: Share menu with group and single targets.

The Direct Share API gives developers an easy way to add multiple dynamically chosen custom targets to the share menu. It's basically a way for apps to provide shortcuts to your favorite or most used contacts. Now, when you share some text or photo to Messenger, the contacts you choose will be added to a dedicated spot on the share menu. From that point on, at least until something falls off of the list, you'll be able to quickly pick the same targets over and over again without searching for them in a list.

Messenger allows you to have both single targets and group targets (shown in the third screenshot above). Each time you share to a new person or group, they're automatically added to the list. It seems like content type doesn't matter, so if you're sharing from a photo application like Snapseed (because Photos doesn't use the standard share menu), the same list of targets will pop up.

Messenger appears to be the first Google app to implement Direct Share, but the Android Developers Blog has posted a sample app that demonstrates how the same functionality can be added to other apps. We'll surely see this implemented in Google+, Gmail, Hangouts, and an assortment of other apps in the coming months.


The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File Name: com.google.android.apps.messaging-1.5.035_(2279257-38)-15035138-minAPI16.apk

Version: 1.5.035 (2279257-38) (15035138)