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[Update: Rolling wider] Google Messages tests iMessage-like reactions in RCS for some

For the last few months, our APK Insight team has been tracking Google’s efforts to add emoji reactions to RCS and specifically their own Messages app. Some are now reporting that they’re able to add iMessage-like reactions to RCS messages.

Back in February, we uncovered that work had begun in the Google Messages app to bring emoji reactions — a common feature of modern chat applications — to RCS conversations, including an iMessage-like way of sending plain text fallback messages such as “Liked a photo” to those who can’t receive RCS reactions.

As spotted by Android Police, a few folks on the RCS Universal Profile subreddit are reporting that reactions are beginning to appear. Unfortunately, the test seems to be fairly limited for now, with only a small handful of folks noticing the appearance of reactions, found by pressing and holding on a message you’d like to react to.

If the test is live on your device, in addition to the normal copy, delete, and snooze controls found along the top of the app, you’ll be offered a range of seven emojis to use as a reaction, as seen in the screenshots shared on Reddit.

Notably, if someone with RCS reactions available sends one to someone who has RCS but not reactions, a simple fallback text is sent which describes which emoji was used to react to a particular message. Oddly, these fallback messages can only be sent via RCS, and are not sent to your SMS-only contacts.

For now, these fallbacks messages are all we’ve been able to see on the receiving end, as the test is currently extremely limited and no two people with the RCS reactions have attempted to message each other yet, that we know of. Presumably, messages would have their various received reactions applied underneath, as shown to the sender in the screenshots above.

We’re not yet sure whether the rollout is dependent on the beta update to Google Messages which rolled out earlier today and also brought the first hints of Google Fi integration.

Update 7:55pm: This evening, following another beta update for Google Messages, reactions for RCS messaging appears to have rolled out more widely, arriving for multiple members the 9to5Google team, as well as our readers.

As you can see in the final screenshot above, tapping a message’s reactions pulls up a menu that expands on who left each reaction.

Are these reactions live in your Google Messages app? Be sure to let us know down in the comments.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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