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Google Messages got a great feature iMessage is missing

Updated Jan 3rd, 2023 4:03PM EST
Google Messages is getting 10 new features.
Image: Google

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Google may never convince Apple to support RCS messaging, but in the meantime, the tech company continues to bring new features to its messaging app. In fact, the latest addition to Google Messages is one that Apple’s iMessage can’t match. As spotted by 9to5Google earlier this week, Google Messages recently began rolling out a new feature that lets users react to a message with any emoji instead of just the six default options.

Previously, long-pressing a message in Google Messages would open a pop-up menu with 7 emoji reactions: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes, Face with Tears of Joy, Face with Open Mouth, Crying Face, and Angry Face.

Following the latest update — which 9to5Google says is only available to some users so far — the Thumbs Down emoji has vanished. In its place is a new black-and-white smiley face with a plus sign. Tapping that face will open the full emoji keyboard.

As noted above, Apple’s Messages doesn’t offer the same degree of freedom when it comes to emoji reactions (or Tapbacks, as Apple calls them). Apple only offers six possible reactions, including a heart, two exclamation points, and a question mark.

Meanwhile, a similar feature is already widely available on WhatsApp. You can pick any emoji on your phone to react to the message in WhatsApp, no matter which operating system your phone uses. Just long-press on a message and hit the plus button.

According to 9to5Google, the full emoji picker isn’t widely available, but at least two users on the latest Messages beta have encountered the feature. The site also reports that the feature works for RCS messages as well as SMS texts.

Back in October, Google Messages received a makeover and a trove of new features. Some of those new features included responses for individual messages and the ability to watch YouTube videos within the Messages app.

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Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.