In an effort to get Apple to implement RCS messaging on iPhones, Google started a campaign last month called #GetTheMessage. Less than a month after Google’s call to action, Apple CEO Tim Cook told a journalist that if he wanted to send his mum high-quality films, he should buy her an iPhone because her Android phone couldn’t play them.
It’s clear that Google is trying out a new feature that will either facilitate better communication between Android and iPhone users or further upset iPhone consumers. A feature that lets the app respond to messages sent from iPhones is now being tested, as discovered by Reddit user u/Jabjab345. An Android user who receives a text message from an iPhone user will receive a notification that an emoji was used in response.
So, Google basically did an Apple. Users of iOS can respond to SMS messages by sending another SMS message to the recipient (in this case, an Android phone) with the reaction emoji and the quoted message text.
Since then, Google has updated its Messages app to recognize the message to which the reaction applies and display an appropriate emoji in place of the reaction. This new feature is Google’s way of giving iPhone users a little bit of a taste of their own medicine by providing them with a text-only version of a reaction to a message.
Responding to text messages with an emoji has been around for a while. Emoji reactions are supported by a wide range of cross-platform messaging apps. This includes but is not limited to WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, Skype, Teams, Instagram, and many more. Users in the United States, where the stock messaging app is widely preferred, are the only ones who care about this. Google Messages on Android with RCS and iMessage on iOS are examples of such services.
It was discovered on a beta version of the Google Messages app, but it hasn’t been released to the public just yet. To date, Google has not verified the existence of this function.