Chatting with an iPhone user has always been frustrating for Android device owners, because iMessage emojis appear as text on Google Messages. As it previewed last month in a beta, Google has started rolling out a feature for Messages that translates iMessaging "Tapbacks" as emojis. It will first arrive to Android devices set to English, "with additional languages to follow," Google wrote in a blog post.
Until now, a "thumbs up" to a text that says "see you in ten?" sent from an iPhone would be translated to "liked 'see you in ten?'", for example. With the new feature, Android users receive emojis instead, though they may not match exactly what was sent — a "heart" reaction yields the "face with the heart eyes," for instance. To make that clear to the user, they'll also see "translated from iOS."
That's not the only feature that will make inter-device communication easier. Taking the opportunity to slam iOS's lack of RCS messaging, Google pointed out that photos and videos can look blurry when shared with Apple devices. However, it's sort of fixing that by bringing Google Photos into Messages. "You can send your videos as Google Photos links right inside the conversation, preserving their clarity," it said. A similar feature for photos is "coming soon."
Google also launched other features within Messages to help keep you on top of things. Organized Inbox sorts your messages into personal and business tabs, much as Gmail can do. It'll also automatically delete one-time password text messages after 24 hours to further reduce clutter, if you want. And if you forget to reply to a message, "gentle nudges can remind you to reply to messages you may have missed or need to follow up on," Google said.
Other new features include birthday reminder nudges if you've saved someone's birthday in your contacts app. It also launched new emoji functions, letting you "create the perfect emoji if you have Gboard set as your keyboard in Messages." It added that Emoji Kitchen now has "over 2000 new emoji mashups available as stickers, letting you replace heart eyes with pretzels or rain disco balls," it cited as examples. And finally, Google revealed that YouTube videos will now appear directly in conversations if you send a link.