Google starts rolling out Photomoji for Google Messages in beta

The photomoji picker in Google Messages
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google announced a handful of new features to Google Messages last week to celebrate one billion RCS users, with Photomoji being one of them.
  • Photomoji lets users create a custom emoji from any image and save them within Google Messages. 
  • The feature is now rolling out to beta testers, but not everyone will be able to use it just yet. 

Google Messages users are starting to see Photomoji appear in the beta version of the app, as first discovered by 9to5Google. The feature was announced last week as part of a considerable Google Messages overhaul and is now rolling out to some beta testers. 

Photomoji uses Google's improvements in subject detection over the last few years and applies it to custom emoji in the Google Messages app. If you've used custom stickers in Snapchat, the experience will be similar. With Photomoji, users can select the subject of any photo, turning that subject into a Google Messages emoji. After that, the custom Photomoji can be used throughout Google Messages, both in-text and as message reactions. 

Unlike the similar Snapchat feature, you can't customize how Photomoji are created. Once you select an image from the media drawer in Google Messages, everything that follows happens automatically. This should work fine in photos where the subject you want to turn into a Photomoji is at the forefront. However, it's possible that creating a Photomoji from a background subject might not be as successful. 

To create a Photomoji, you can press down on a message and tap the Create button. Alternatively, you can find the same option in the emoji drawer as well. Next, it's as simple as choosing an image and letting the feature work. 

It appears that the rollout for Photomoji is slow, even for beta testers. While we were able to spot the new tab for custom emojis on our Google Messages app, the option to create new ones wasn't available yet. 

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

Photomoji will continue to roll out to beta testers, and you can sign up for the Google Messages beta to be first in line to try it out. After that, it'll make its way to the stable release of Google Messages. However, Google didn't provide a concrete timeline for when Photomoji would be widely available to users. 

The feature is one of seven changes coming to the Google Messages app soon, like custom bubbles and reaction effects. The new additions come as Google celebrates one billion RCS users, and as the company prepares for Apple to support the standard next year. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.