The plainly named Messages app is now Google’s champion in its attempt to refocus its messy messaging strategy. A big part of that strategy is RCS support, which has been slowly rolling out to more people (despite carrier involvement). RCS is considered by some to be the iMessage equivalent for Android, and the latest update brings a very iMessage-like feature.
Earlier this summer, it was discovered that Google was working on emoji chat reactions for RCS conversations. Reactions are pretty common among other messaging services, including iMessage, and they allow you to react without actually sending a new message. Reactions are available now in conversations with “Chat” features enabled (RCS).
Next up is Smart Reply for stickers. The Smart Reply feature is something Google has included in several services, including Messages. It uses machine learning to suggest replies to messages. Now, Smart Reply will not only suggest text responses but also stickers. This can be toggled on or off in settings.
Lastly, Google is highlighting some features that allow you to edit and play around with photos before sending them. This is another thing Google has been working on for a while. There are a few different pen options, including highlighter, pen, and marker. Text can be added and resized, dragged, and rotated around the image as well.
As mentioned, the reactions feature is limited to RCS conversations, but sticker suggestions and photo editing is available for everyone. Google continues to make Messages a worthy messaging app, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.