Google Messages Now Shows iMessage Tapbacks with Emojis

Image: @jvolkman on Twitter

According to 9to5Google, the latest update to Google’s official Messages app is rolling out the ability to translate iMessage ‘Tapbacks’ — message reactions like ‘Thumbs Up’, ‘Thumbs Down’, ‘Heart’, and more, into emoji reactions.

With version 5.8 of the Messages app last year, Google rolled out iMessage-style message reactions that made use of the Rich Communication Services (RCS) format to react with emojis. The latest update builds upon this functionality, bringing the ability to translate iMessage Tapbacks into RCS.

Up until now, whenever an iMessage user reacted to a message, Android users would get an automated ‘fallback’ message that basically described the reaction and informed them of it, which could quickly clutter up your message history.

There’s a low chance of iMessage making its way over to Android (unless you’re okay with going the third-party route), and getting an additional text message every time someone on an iPhone reacts to one of yours can be pretty vexing, especially in group conversations.

Thankfully, you don’t have to deal with that anymore. The latest iteration of Google Messages, released November 20, is currently rolling out to users with the new Tapback translation functionality.

Tapping on an iMessage reaction in Google Messages brings up a dialogue that says, “Translated from iPhone.”

Understandably, Google had to remap some iMessage reactions to the set of reactions available in Google Messages today — but hey, anything’s better than one whole extra text message, right?

If an iPhone user changes their iMessage Tapback to a message, the change is instantly and correctly reflected in the conversation’s Google Messages counterpart(s) as well.

The update also introduces birthday reminders to Google Messages. The app’s conversation list will now directly indicate when it’s a contact’s birthday, likely based on their Google Contacts info.

In addition, when you’re in a conversation with someone and it’s their birthday, you’ll also see a banner with a bouncy birthday cake animation reminding you of the fact.