Google Messages gains emoji reactions, voice notes, and Duo integration

RCS messaging
RCS messaging (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Messages now supports Facebook-Messenger reactions for RCS.
  • Messages has other nifty new features, including easier access to voice notes, a media editor, and smart sticker suggestions.
  • Finally, Google's premier consumer video chat app, Duo, is now integrated with Messages.

Google today announced a couple of changes rolling out to Messages. Some of which have been spotted during Google's usual "will they or won't they" server-side testing phasing, all of which are available now.

First, Google is adding reactions to the app. Just like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Twitter, you can now long-press on a message in a chat and react to it with one of seven emoji to indicate "like, love, laughter, surprise, sadness, anger, and dislike". Google is also adding a new media editor for quick edits to a photo before you send it off. It's something that other messaging apps like Messenger, iMessage, and Snapchat offer, and it's good to see it make an appearance here as well.

Google is also adding sticker support to Smart Reply, voice messages, and Duo integration. Those last three don't particularly rely on RCS or Chat, but the first two would benefit from both sides having them.

Google's Messages app is a very competent one and all these features would make it a desirable messaging app if it reached critical mass. As Google has yet to share any stats regarding adoption, we can't say how close or how far away that line is.

Every country and carrier that supports Google RCS

Michael Allison
  • If I react to something will my iMessage friends get annoying texts that tell them that's what I did? That'd be the only reason to use them. Payback.
  • Haha exactly my thoughts. Do I really need a text back to me, with all the text I previously sent with "Liked" in front of it? Obnoxious.
  • Reactions and Duo seem to be live for me, T-Mobile S20 Ultra.
  • What do you mean by Duo?
  • And still no scheduled message feature. Just about every other SMS app has this
  • Give it time. Apple only recently got this feature whereas Samsung has had it for several years. In time all the messengers will do exactly the same thing.
  • Messaging on Android is rubbish compared to iMessage which is so much better than anything on Android and imojis are even worse on Android. Whether you like Apple or not, nobody can deny that Apple got messaging right from day one and Android has failed with messaging.
  • I know you are all in on iPhones and iMessage, but Google was so far ahead with Hangouts and then they went crazy with I can't tell you how many different messaging apps when they already had one to rule them all.
  • The idea that iMessage is the messaging utopia is just more Apple myth making. First of all, the desktop iMessage app blows. And I mean it's attorciously bad. It's by far and wide the absolute worst desktop messaging app. By the way, I have a MBP and an iPad. There are zero features built into the app so that even attaching a simple picture is far too convoluted. And this is why all my friends either use Whatsapp, Android Messages, or Telegram. And when I switch over from my MBP to my iPad the conversation I was having isn't instantly synced. In other words, the iPad doesn't think I was having a conversation on iMessage. "Just works, eh..." And don't get me started on Apple's horrible spell correct. Jesus Christ. It's horrendously bad. Not only does it aggressively change words incorrectly, but it doesn't remember in the future. I don't know how people can stand texting on their phones with that horrible autocorrect. If iMessage is what keeps people on their iPhones instead of switching to Android, that doesn't say much for iPhones because iMessage sucks. Besides everyone across Android and iOS uses apps like WhatsApp anyways. Blue bubbles my a**. Wait, I totally forgot about the abomination that is Facebook Messenger, so iMessage has a friend in Messaging app hell.
  • Come back when Android messages has the ability to send videos in high quality because you can't do that with Google messages and iMessage is great on iPhone and iPad, the whole point of iMessage is its exclusively for iPhones only and it's about more than iMessage with iPhones, it's about ease of use with better and more polished apps, smooth performance with that famous Apple optimisation and far superior ecosystem software support and spare me the "Apple slows down older iPhones" crap, they only slow older iPhones with degraded batteries and unlike Android, Apple has a built in feature that show's you your battery health and no I don't condone the way Apple went about slowing down older iPhones without telling users but overall iPhones are what I prefer and always have, I was just kidding myself that I could love Android but I just don't and never will, iOS and iPhone has my heart.
  • Then wyd here at an android website? Is apple paying you for your loyalty lol
  • What are you talking about, you can send high quality videos on Google Messages. When you have RCS and text others that use RCS, videos will send high quality. And I already know you or someone else will be like "eXaCtLy yOu HaVe To UsE rCs" But like, ask yourself this. When has a video being sent from an iPhone been in high quality? Basically never because MMS will greatly compress media all the time. I have talked to plenty of people who use iPhones and send videos, so I know that **** ain't high quality when they're sent to someone on Google Messages.
  • I agree that the autocorrect is garbage on iMessage/iOS in general. Whenever I switch back to iPhone after using an Android I remember how much more superior Google is at not only autocorrect, but also auto-fill (forms, names, passwords, etc.). Also iMessage, as it currently stands, on Macs blows. I returned a MB Air recently and that was definitely one of the reasons for it... among others. Thankfully Apple working to replace Messages app on Mac with a Catalyst version in the new MacOS update.
  • iMessage is a part of the walled garden from Apple. Restricted software. iMessage is not available on Android, linux or windows. So its worthless to use it as an Universal texting app. Google messages with RCS has gone way better. Apple will never make iMessage compatible to RCS with Android.