Google Voice quietly adds support for emoji

With no official confirmation or announcement from Google, we are noticing that emoji support has been quietly added to Google Voice. The lack of emoji support was noticed even as recently as a few days ago with several of our editors noticing white square boxes in lieu of emoji when messages containing these whimsical characters would have appeared. With the addition of emoji, at least test messages sent using Google Voice will appear on par with carrier SMS options.

We've been testing out emoji support between the team here at Android Central and notice that the emoji characters are appearing between Google Voice-to-Google Voice messages as well as messages sent through a traditional carrier SMS plan to a Google Voice user. Emoji support is found both in Google's official app for iOS and Android in both cases and both sender and recipient can see and send emoji regardless if they originated from a Google Voice or regular number.

Additionally, if you have your Google Voice messages forwarded to show up on your default messaging app on your phone, emoji support is also transferred over. This feature allows Google Voice user to see messages in their Message app on their phone rather than having to check the Google Voice app.

Are you a Google Voice user? Have you noticed that emoji are showing up using Google Voice? Is this a welcomed change?

Thanks, Justin V., for the tip!

 

Reader comments

Google Voice quietly adds emoji support

50 Comments

Doesn't mean you have to use emoji, but it at least means if someone sends you a message including emoji you have an idea of what they're trying to say.

Man, are you kidding? This is brilliant. As crappy as the Google Voice app is, what I thought it REALLY needed more than anything was emoji support. I haven't been this excited since they added auto awesome snowflakes to Google Plus.

Thanks, Google! Glad you have your priorities in order. *insert gif of middle finger here*

MMS is the deal breaker for me. People couldn't understand the concept that I couldn't receive pictures, email them. I gave up and went back to one phone. I look forward to the day that the public can understand hangouts or like service and quit sending me SMS messages.

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I've never understood the hate for SMS/MMS. It works across every phone, every carrier, on both smartphones and feature phones, and is the easiest way to communicate if the network is down or congested.

You seem to have completely missed the point of Tom's complaint. Voice doesn't properly support MMS, making it very frustrating to use. It's also not actually as compatible across carriers as you think, with various random problems in place, and agreements required between carriers to function (which is part of why Voice doesn't work to receive MMS from many carriers). Hence why Ytown, and myself, wish people would move on to newer technologies that aren't dependent on carrier agreements and such.

In that case, Voice is the problem, not MMS. And I can't remember the last time someone didn't get a picture I sent because of the carrier they were on.

If you prefer to see it that way, good for you. But it's still, unlike what you claim about it working across every phone and every carrier, in fact a fundamental limitation of the non-standard and NOT the fault of Google. You may not be able to remember the last time you couldn't get a picture because of your carrier, but I sure can. It used to be a standard that they worked only within carriers, then slowly between specific partnered carriers, and then eventually the big ones figured their crap out. But there are still fundamental issues with some smaller carriers and other problems. Point is, MMS is NOT an open, cross-carrier standard that anyone can tap into. It's proprietary within each carrier and requires agreements and sometimes money to change hands. For whatever reason Google's only been able to work out deals with a couple of them, presumably because Voice is quite obviously a threat to the carriers' way of doing business. Calling and text messaging have been a source of premium income to the carriers for a very long time. Allowing their users to easily switch to a service that doesn't use their methods and that they can't charge for was never in their best interest. So they avoided it. Still do. This is very much the fault of the carriers, not Google.

It may not be Google's fault, but it's still Google's Problem. They're the ones that don't support this technology that seemingly everyone else supports and uses. That's on Google, not anyone else.

absolutely false statement - the truth = SMS/MMS does not work across every phone, every carrier, on both smartphones and feature phones, and doesnt always communicate if the Voice network is down or congested.

Emoji uses MMS, and NOT all carriers and NOT all SMS appps allow for MMS. MMS is NOT part of SMS packages on ANY device or network - unless VoLTE, once VoLTE is a reality for all, MMS will be a dogy proposition at best for most people.

I'd far rather it integrate with Hangouts, which consistently works for me and uses a modern interface, than stay how it is.

Had all my google voice texts forwarded to my real number and emoji didnt work, i would get a blank text or a random square, its been working probably for about 2 months now.

Hangouts can receive MMS. Are you talking about Voice? If so, Voice has never been able to send MMS in the app itself but supposedly Hangouts and Voice will be integrated.

SMS is pretty much a standard across all carriers. MMS uses some proprietary protocols that differ from carrier to carrier. To get MMS to work, Google has to either make deals with the carrier (like they did with Sprint), or find some workaround that will work across the board.

Yeah it's been working like this for at least a week. Although Google voice I the computer still shows boxes and such and not the actual emoji.

This has been there for about a month. I noticed it on my Nexus 5 right around the beginning of June while showing a friend with an iPhone how to enable emoji on her device..

I'm happy, this is the reason I stop using Google voice, to many women I talk to use emoji and I couldn't see them

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Question, If I only have one personal phone (don't want personal calls to be routed to my work phone) is there any benefit to me setting up a google voice account? Also, my office phone is VOIP (large company) so not sure I could do anything with it anyway.

I believe, back in April, I made a post to google+ about emoji support. Of course, no one saw it, because no one really pays attention to me, on google+.. or perhaps in life.

I use Google Voice constantly. As a Sprint customer, it's integrated (for free) into my service, but I hadn't noticed the emoji until I read this article and sought them out.

I generally am not a fan of emoji, but if Google Voice is continuing to add features to their service, that makes me happy. I can't imagine life without it, frankly.. Google Voice is incredibly useful in a myriad of ways and I'd be lost without it.