Google is quietly rolling out a new beta feature to Google Messages that allows the Android app to correctly understand and display emoji reactions sent from iOS users of Apple’s Messages app.
According to 9to5Google and Droid-Life, the feature appears to be live in a beta version of the Google Messages app, so it’s not available for every user. The feature is designed to address the issue of when an iPhone user reacts to an Android message with emoji and the receiving Android user ends up seeing the reaction sent as a separate text – which is unnecessarily clunky.
The latest beta (build 20220121_02_RC00) of the Google Messages app now interprets emoji reactions the same as Apple’s Messages app (which is also known as iMessage). But, as 9to5Google noted, there are differences between how reactions are represented on each operating system.
While the thumbs up and thumbs down reactions look similar across both platforms, the “haha” reaction on iOS renders as the “face with tears of joy” on Android. Other differences spotted so far: The “heart” becomes “smiling face with heart-eyes”; the “Exclamation marks” becomes “face with open mouth”; and the “question mark” becomes “thinking face”, to name a few.
If your Android phone came with Google Messages, you can test experimental features of the app before they’re released. Just go to the Messages app Play store page, choose Become a tester, and follow the on-screen instructions. The new “Show iPhone reactions as emoji” feature is enabled by default in the beta Google Messages app (under the Advanced menu in Settings).