Google’s Messages app prepares to add message reactions, drawing on images
Google Messages with RCS and Chat is Google’s latest attempt at getting a slice of the messaging market. After multiple failed attempts with Google Talk, Hangouts, and Allo, Google shifted gears in April 2018 to kill off Allo in favor of a standardized form of messaging. The company incorporated RCS with the Universal Profile (Chat) in Google Messages and rolled out the functionality first to users in the UK and France in June 2019. A few months later, it started rolling out RCS to all users in the US regardless of carriers. The US is the most important market for RCS, as iPhone users in the country primarily use iMessage as an IP-based messaging service instead of a cross-platform service such as WhatsApp, which means Android users have no option but to fall back to SMS. Now that RCS is finally available for US users, Google is trying to catch up to iMessage in terms of functionality, which is no small task as iMessage is a feature-rich messaging service.
Now, an APK teardown done by 9to5Google of the latest version of Google Messages beta, version 5.7, shows that Google is preparing to add two features to Messages (which was first called Google Messenger, then renamed to Android Messages, before finally being renamed to just Messages). The first feature is the capability of sending reactions to a message. The second one is the ability to draw on messages.
The reactions feature was added on iMessage in 2016, and its reception has been very popular. Android users in group chats with iMessages users can’t see such reactions, though. Instead, they get text messages such as “[Username] laughed at an image.” When this functionality added to Google Messages, users will be able to send emoji reactions to other Messages users such as thumbs up, thumbs down, angry face, face with tears of joy, smiling face with heart eyes, crying face, and face with open mouth. Google Messages 5.7 also includes some animations to go with a few of the reactions.
Jane Manchun Wong posted the following tweet showing the reactions in action:
Google Messages is working on Reactions
which totally doesn’t look like Facebook Messenger at all pic.twitter.com/mHxokE89yV
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 13, 2020
The other new feature is drawing on images. Google Messages 5.7 beta is developing a way for users to draw on images they are preparing to send. Google Duo has similar doodling features. In Messages, users will be able to enter a draw mode, and the tools include calligraphy, highlighter, and marker. They will be choose from colors such as black, blue, green, pink, orange, purple, red, white and yellow.
Users can download the latest Messages beta from enrolling in the app’s beta program in the Play Store. These features don’t appear to have gone live yet, but it’s probable they will be announced in the next few weeks.