What you need to know
- Google Messages has been updated with a new emoji menu.
- The updated menu gives users quick access to GIFs and stickers.
- The attachment menu is shorter and cleaner now that stickers have been moved.
Google Messages is receiving a new update that makes navigating the app a little easier. In version 8.0 of the app, which is rolling out now on the best Android phones, the emoji menu has been changed to now include GIFs and stickers.
The new menu can be seen by tapping on the emoji icon in the text field. Instead of showing only the exhaustive list of emojis, there's now a three-tabbed menu for emojis, GIFs, and stickers. You can see the before and after below, taken from two different devices.
The new layout makes it easy to access different kinds of media to send over text. There's also a search bar to quickly find the emoji, GIF, or sticker you want to include. The new layout follows the example from Gboard, which functions similarly when the emoji icon is pressed on the keyboard, albeit with the addition of the emoji kitchen and Bitmoji if you have it enabled.
Another change comes to the "+" icon for certain attachments. This has been condensed to look a lot less busy now that GIFs and stickers have a new home. It only has options for location, Google Assistant, contacts, and files.
It's unclear if a specific version is necessary for the new changes to appear, but it seems to be a server-side update. Google Messages has recently been updated to version 8.0 on our Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but it seems to appear on earlier versions as well. The new emoji menu has shown up on version 7.4 on our LG G8.
Google has also been working on additional changes to Google Messages. A new tablet UI was discovered recently that resembles how iMessages functions on the iPad.