Google Messages auto-organizing categories return [U]

Google rolled out the ability for Messages to auto-group SMS texts and RCS chats last year, but the categories have now disappeared for some users.

Update 7/14: The disappearance in April seems to have only impacted beta users with the stable versions of the app that I checked not impacted.

As of this evening, the “Personal” and “Business” categories have returned in the latest beta release (20230711_01_RC00). Nothing about it is different today. The “View messages by category” and “Primary category” settings are also back following a server-side change.

Original 4/22: This issue results in the disappearance of the All, Personal, and Business category chips underneath the search bar as if the feature was not enabled. In Settings > Message organization, the “View messages by category” toggle and ability to select the “Primary category view” are gone, though “Auto-delete OTPs after 24 hrs” remains present.

The problem arose in recent weeks and is not tied to any specific version of Google Messages, though the affected Pixel devices we checked are on the beta channel.

These auto-organizing categories, which leverage machine learning, date back to mid-2021 and first debuted in India before coming to other countries at the start of 2022. Google originally said this feature would “roll out first to English users around the globe.”

This disappearance of categories in Google Messages is not impacting all users but might be picking up steam. It’s unclear whether this is a bug or whether Google is removing the capability due to a lack of usage. The latter would usually be accompanied by a notice of some sort.

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