Google is expanding its Android messaging app with a number of new features, including the ability to respond to messages with emoji responses that have long been available in other messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and the messaging app built into iOS. The feature was first discovered during testing in May, but Google has now officially launched it as part of the latest version of its messaging app.
To use an emoji response, simply tap and hold the message you want to respond to. A short list of cute animated emoji is displayed for you to choose from. You can only use emoji responses if you have activated RCS chat.
Here's a Google GIF that shows how emoji reactions are used and what the emoji will look like:
Google also adds a new function to Smart Reply that automatically suggests possible answers for you: in addition to text, it can now also suggest emoji stickers. According to Google, the function is currently only available in English.
Check out how it works in this Google GIF:
If text, an emoji, or a sticker doesn't cut it, Google adds some other useful tools that you can use to communicate in messages, including a new video call button that lets you go straight from a text conversation to Google Duo Video Call and Media Editor which you can mark photos and share directly in a conversation.