Google’s Messages app finally allows Android users to send emojis back to iPhones

News Summary:

  • Other upcoming updates include notifications to remind you to reply to missed messages, separate tabs for business and personal messages, reminders for birthdays you might want to celebrate, support for sharper videos via a Google Photos integration, and an expanded selection of emoji mashups.

  • Google is giving its default Messages app a major upgrade, the company announced today. The Messages app, which comes pre-installed on most Android phones, will get a number of new features with the update. Most notably, it will fix the long-standing problem of iMessage’s “tapbacks” being sent as a separate message rather than an emoji response. It’s an annoyance that has made chats between Android and iPhone users confusing, confusing and far too noisy.

After the update, reactions from iPhone users will be sent as emoji in text messages on Android. As with iMessage, the emoji reaction – such as love, laughter, confusion or excitement – is displayed on the right side of the message. (On Android, it’s in the lower right.) This feature is rolling out first to Android devices set to English, but other languages will follow.

Google is also integrating Google Photos into the Messages app to improve video sharing. While the modern RCS standard allows people with Android devices to share high-quality videos with each other, the same videos appear blurry when shared with people on iPhones because iMessage doesn’t support RCS. By sending the link to the video through Google Photos, iPhone users can view the video in the same high resolution. This feature will later be available for Photos as well.

These improved responses were already available for beta users of the Messages app, but Google has not yet said when they will be available to the public. Testers had noticed that the interpretation of the emoji to be used on Android was slightly different from that of the iPhone. For example, the “heart” reaction on Android becomes the “face with heart eyes” emoji. And the iMessage reaction “exclamation mark” becomes the emoji “face with open mouth.”

This addition is intended to get Apple to adopt the industry standard by shaming the company for video quality.

Google has been very vocal so far about Apple’s decision not to support RCS – mainly because adopting it would allow Google to better compete with Apple’s iMessage. However, Google is not wrong to point out that Apple is not doing its own customers a good service by letting iMessage revert to the older, less secure SMS standard.