Earlier this year, beta code found in Google's Messages app hinted at upcoming emoji reactions support. Today, as a part of Google's efforts to bolster the capabilities of Messages, it is rolling out out the feature to its messaging app.
The search giant has announced that you can now react to a message with a long press, be it a photo, video, or text. At present, there are seven animated expressions you can choose from: like, love, laughter, surprise, sadness, anger, and dislike. Keep in mind that you must have Messages' chat functionality enabled to send reactions.
Google is also expanding Messages' Smart Reply feature, which was added to the app when Android 10 launched on Pixel devices last year. Now, that capability will display stickers as you type, assuming you've turned on Smart Reply suggestions. Currently, suggested stickers are available only in English.
Another addition to Messages is a native media editor that lets you write a text or draw on a photo you've taken with its in-app camera. In addition, there's now a dedicated button for sending a voice message, just hold down the mic button within the compose bar to start recording. Finally, Google now allows you to start a Duo video call with anyone you're chatting by tapping on the video call button at the top right corner of Messages.
Some of these capabilities are late to the game, such as the emoji reactions. Still, these are welcome additions to Messages if Google is to draw more users to the app.