The Android Messages app is a tad barebones compared to third party apps, but Google has been adding a lot of features that you’d find in internet-based messages apps. The latest additions bring it closer to services like iMessage and Facebook Messenger (though still using SMS).
You can now directly transfer and request money from the Messages app. This is done via Google Wallet but the links will be sent by text messages. Google Duo calling is also in the app, with a video call button in the top bar directly starting a video call with the Duo app.
The features are slowly rolling out to everyone, so not everyone can take advantage of them quite yet. It’s interesting to see Google pushing smart features into a text message app, but it’s still a mystery why the company won’t integrate a solid internet-based messaging system into Android Messages. Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction.