Google Messages bring true iPhone iMessage reactions to Android at last

Being an Android user in a group thread full of iPhone users can be an annoying experience, thanks in part to the way Android messaging has traditionally handled reactions from those iMessage users. iMessage allows users to post various reactions to messages, and while it's a pretty seamless feature for those with iPhones, those on Android see a readout of the reaction and the message in question. Thanks to a new update to Google Messages, however, it seems like that's changing.

Emoji for everyone no matter the phone

This update was discovered by 9to5Google, which notes that now Google Messages will show iPhone reactions to messages properly. Previously, if you were on Android and someone using iMessage reacted to a text message, you would get an entirely new text describing that reaction in meticulous, annoying detail.

So, for instance, say that you're on Android and you text your iPhone-using friend, "I'll be there in 10 minutes." If they "like" that using iMessage's reactions, for them, it'll show a neat little thumbs up hovering over the message in question. For you, however, you'll see this sent as a separate text message:

You: "I'll be there in 10 minutes."

iPhone friend: "Liked 'I'll be there in 10 minutes.'"

Not exactly an elegant solution to the problem of cross-platform reactions, is it? With this latest update to Google Messages, the emoji that iPhone users send as reactions will now properly appear as reactions to your text messages, meaning no more of these silly automated play-by-play replies throwing off the flow of your conversation.

Google Messages beckons

Unfortunately, this functionality is not going live for all Android users. This is new functionality of the Google Messages app, not Android itself, so if you've got a bunch of friends on iPhone driving you up a wall with their reaction nonsense, you might want to consider switching to the Google Messages app.

This feature first started appearing in a recent beta update to Google Messages, which would typically mean grabbing the APK and sideloading it to take the feature for a spin yourself. However, in the time since this feature was initially spotted, some users have suggested they've gained access in the standard app – suggesting that Google is moving this feature out of beta.

You can see Google Messages' reaction in a set of screenshots above. It sounds like this is a phased rollout for some, so if you're not seeing reactions just yet, they're probably on the way. Sit tight with anticipation, for soon, contextual messages explaining simple reactions will probably be a thing of the past for you.