Some features are just groundbreaking — there's no other way to say it. Like seeing borders on a map or tracking sleep with a health service, there are plenty of amazing things your apps could do that you never thought might even be remotely possible. Have you, for example, ever imagined, being able to search for a contact in a messaging app to start a conversation with them? I bet it never occurred to you, but that's exactly what the Messages app has just added.
Sarcasm aside, this is a subtle improvement. Previously, in order to start chatting with someone on Messages, you had to tap the floating action button on the bottom right, then type their name. The app had a separate search function, but it was mostly there to search messages, not people, so you could find words inside a chat.
Then a richer search interface was added in Messages v3.6, allowing you to filter by images, videos, places, and links, and adding a carousel of your most-contacted people. But still, if you typed someone's name, it didn't recognize that as a contact, instead simply offering to search for the word.
With version 4.1 of Messages, search now supports contact names. Reactions like "revolutionary" come to mind. So when you type a person's name, you can see them in the suggestion. Tap that and you're taken to another screen with your previous conversations with them (if you've already sent them a message) and their various phone numbers so you can start a new chat.
Left: Searching for a contact name in Messages 188.8.131.52. Middle & Right: Now on v.4.1.067.
• You can now search for a contact and start a conversation with them from within the Messages app, even if you haven’t had conversations with them yet.
That means you now have two ways to start a talk with someone. You can either go through the blue Start chat button on the bottom right then type their name, or you can search for them then start the chat. Convenience, at its best.
If you want to check the feature out, grab Messages 4.1.067 from the Play Store or from APK Mirror.