Google Messages has started allowing some users to respond with any emoji

Google Messages has started allowing some users to respond with any emoji

Google Messages has started allowing some users to respond with any emoji

Google has started letting some users of its Messages app respond to text messages with any emoji, rather than limiting them to the default set of seven that’s been available in the app for a while now (via 9to5Google). The feature is similar to what other messaging platforms like Slack, WhatsApp and paid versions of Telegram have – tapping and holding on a message gives you standard emoji reactions, but you can then access the selector to react with whatever you want.

The extended emoji reactions appear to be a limited test at this point – 9to5Google says it has heard two reports of it being rolled out, and while a person was on The Verge‘s staff have access to it, two other people who checked do not. Google did not immediately respond The Vergeits request for comment on the feature.

As with any feature added to messaging services, the extra reactions can be a bit messy depending on who you’re texting and what communication standards their phone supports. They seem to work well if both parties are using RCS, the SMS replacement that Google has been pushing. My phone doesn’t have access to the extended selector yet, but my colleague’s reactions appeared correctly when I used Google’s messaging app.

Screenshot of a text that says

However, other configurations can get messy. On the same phone, which obviously supports RCS, Samsung’s messaging app displays the reaction as a separate text message, saying “😱 to ‘Can you react to this message?'” The same is true when my colleague reacts to a text message from an iPhone user. as these are SMS only (much to Google’s chagrin).

Screenshot of a text message conversation.  A message says

That the reactions don’t translate to iPhones isn’t a surprise. First, Apple’s Tapback system only allows you to use a specific set of symbols, so it’s unlikely that the company’s Messages app will have the ability to add an arbitrary emoji to a message. Even if it did, who knows if it would; after years of Apple users’ reactions appearing as separate text messages for Android users, it seemed the two companies had worked out a solution, with iMessages and Google Messages’ reactions translated between the two platforms. And yet, when I tested it today with the default reactions, I was back to the same old system of getting separate “[emoji] to [message]” texts instead of beautifully displayed reactions when sending messages between an Android phone and iPhone.

Whatever Apple and Google have going on, I’m glad to see Google bring this feature to their text platform, even if it’s really only elegant when you’re doing RCS chats. It’s a feature I’ve always wanted everywhere, and it seems like Google is working on making that the case, at least for those using the app.

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