An update to Google's Messenger application rolled out yesterday afternoon. Like a lot of other updates lately, this one appears to be centered around clearing up bugs and issues rather than adding new features. For regular travelers or those that have some compatibility issues with their local carriers, there is now an option to override the automatic country detection the app currently performs. Those users on Android N can also look forward to a fix for a pretty critical bug that could cause Messenger to crash with a simple YouTube link.
Bug Fix: YouTube Links No Longer Crash Android N
For those people living on the edge with the Android N Developer Preview running on their primary (or only) phone, there can be some pretty critical bugs that tend to break things in really unexpected ways. One of the real oddball issues occurred in the Messenger app when one person sent a YouTube link to another. On most versions of Android, the standard behavior is for a little thumbnail of the video to appear above the link.
If the host OS is Android N, the whole application will crash after a second or two of attempting to load that image. The only ways to fix the issue involved either deleting the entire thread or exchanging enough messages to scroll the link out of view when opening that conversation, thus it wouldn't attempt to load unless it was scrolled back into view. The update to v1.8 fixes this issue, so users shouldn't have to worry about keeping their chats free of YouTube links anymore.
New: Country Override Selector
Left: previous version. Right: new version.
Open up the Settings screen and you'll find a new configuration option located near the bottom of the list: a brand new country override selector. The Messenger app has always attempted to detect the country and carrier your phone is connected to, but it seems there may have been some situations where this wasn't working the way it was supposed to. If you've been running into problems, try using this manual override to choose your country and it might clear up the issue. Just tap on "your current country" and pick your correct location from the list.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what issue this is supposed to solve, but I have the feeling it's probably relevant to dual-sim phones or frequent travelers that cross back and forth over country borders.
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.