Android devices could soon display iMessage reactions as Emoji

The Google Messages app on Android devices could soon start displaying iMessage reactions as emoji characters instead of text, according to some research done by 9to5Google.

In the Messages app on iOS and Mac devices, users can add a reaction like heart, thumb up, thumb down, laugh, question mark or exclamation, all of which are displayed as notes in iMessage. These reactions can also be used on Android users’ “green balloon” messages, but Android does not interpret them correctly and this can lead to inconvenience.

For example, if you put a heart message on an iPhone, another PhoneiPhone user will see a small heart on the message. On Android, however, when you send a message with your heart, it displays it in the text: [Person] “I love” and then the text of the message. This applies to all iMessage reactions, Google converts them to text in a way that seems strange, especially if Android users are not aware of iMessage reactions.

9to5Google looked at the code in the latest beta update for Google Messages and found that instead of displaying iMessage reactions as text, Google Messages could soon translate them into emoticons, which would be a much better solution for Android users.

“Show iPhone reactions as emoticons”, reads the code line, under “ios_reaction_classification”.

For now, it’s not clear exactly how this “classification” would work, but one might imagine that Google Messages would spot incoming messages starting with something like “Like” and try to compare them to a previous message. Once you figure out which message to respond to, Google Message may hide the incoming iMessage backup and display the emoji below the original message instead.

However, iMessage has a different set of reactions than those currently offered by Google Messages in RCS chats. Google may be explaining this, because the code mentions “mapping” iMessage reactions, possibly mapping to a set of reactions available in Google messages today, or maybe just mapping to various emoji thumbnails.

Displaying emoticons for the iMessage response could avoid some inconvenience in the interaction between iOS and Android users in the future, if Google finally decides to implement this change.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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