software google messages emoji reaction

You Can Now React With Any Emoji in Google Messages

Google Messages

Some users can now react to messages in Google’s Messaging app with any emoji instead of being limited to the standard seven. This feature has long been available in other messaging apps like WhatsApp.

The feature is not yet available to all users and seems to be a limited test. Some users report to being able to long press a message and then select the picker from the list of standard emoji reactions to choose any emoji. Google has not commented on when the feature will be available for all users.

A lack of cross compatibility

Currently, the feature appears to be working when the sender and the recipient of the message are both using RCS, a replacement for the long-used SMS protocol. It seems the feature is buggy for Apple users, as the emoji reaction appears as a new message rather than a reaction.

This is most likely because Apple is still using SMS for messaging and does not support RCS. This will not be a surprise for Android users, as reactions from Apple users had shown up as separate messages for years.

Updates Require RCS support

Earlier this year in October Google announced a range of updates to the Messages app. The updates allowed users to star and set reminders on messages as well as write in-line reply messages.

However, most of these features require support for RCS. The RCS protocol has been poised to replace SMS, but only a limited number of carriers provide support.

Google instant messaging services have never really taken off the same way as the likes of WhatsApp and iMessage. However, Google is now trying to force their way into the conversation by pushing more carriers to support RCS.

Even though Google says that 500 million users already have access to RCS messaging, it’s still not useful unless RCS is adopted by everyone. When asked about adopting RCS, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

I don’t hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy in on that at this point.

Google Shames Apple Over Lack of RCS Support

Still, Google has been trying to coerce Apple into adopting RCS by publicly naming and shaming them in their #GetTheMessage campaign. From the campaign website, “It’s not about the color of the bubbles.

It’s the blurry videos, broken group chats, missing read receipts and typing indicators, no texting over Wi-Fi, and more. These problems exist because Apple refuses to adopt modern texting standards when people with iPhones and Android phones text each other.”

James Capell

Technical editor and journalist. I have a particularly strong interest in NLP, AI ethics and cyber crime. Not too fond of cats.