Messenger for Pokémon Go, better known as Go Messenger, was taken down from the Google Play Store for violating the Impersonation and Intellectual Property policy. The app’s developers submitted a redesigned version, but have now reverted back to the original version now that the app has been restored on the Play Store.
You most definitely have heard of the game by Niantic Labs, licensed by The Pokémon Company, that has been topping the app charts for the better part of a week now. The game has done wonders for Nintendo, and is being lauded for getting people outside and active — but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t caused heaps of problems as well.
While the goal of the game is to catch Pokémon, it also fostered team rivalry — you can choose one of three teams and battle gyms to control and defend them. Unfortunately, the game does not support any messaging features that would allow you to connect to nearby trainers, whether they’re on your team or not. Messenger for Pokémon Go changed that with a floating chat head that would allow you to communicate while still in the game.
The app was created by a group of student developers — Alexander Popp, Andreas Schwarz, Dominik Maier, and Huy-Long Nguyen — at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. The group has been working around the clock remotely since the project began on July 6, the day Pokémon Go was released.
Version 1.0 was removed from the Play Store, but it’s now back up and the developers are telling people to use it. The app lets you choose a team color and see messages from trainers in a radius from 1 to 50 kilometers. You could also send your location out, which is handy if you want to show other trainers where you caught that Gyarados.
“As we established a user base of 100,000-plus in only five days and the app was still working fine with so many people, we were very depressed to see our app being suspended,” Maier told Digital Trends after the app was taken down. It was likely due to the app’s icon, which resembled a pokéball.
What’s more interesting is that the app has now introduced team chats. All you have to do once you install the app is add your username, choose your team color, and then close the app. It will now appear as a chat head and functions just like Facebook Messenger. There are a few more design changes in the new version, but it more or less looks the same. You’ll now see a tab you can swipe left to leave the public chat and enter your team-specific one.
The app also lets you delete messages you send, but a key feature that will also likely come soon is private chats — Maier says Messenger will also feature a chat bot, where “players can query useful information about Pokémon Go directly from the overlay window.”
Messenger for Pokémon Go is available worldwide, and seems to be far more useful than its competitor GoChat, primarily thanks to team chats and the floating head feature, which unfortunately only Android users can take advantage of for now. An iOS version is in the works, but it may be a while until it’s released due to the complexity of implementing floating chat heads.
Either way, the rise of these messaging apps show that there is clearly an interest and need for a built-in feature in Pokémon Go.
Updated on 07-18-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added information about a new app version available on the Play Store, and team chats.
Updated on 07-18-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added information about the app’s removal from the Google Play Store.