Google is adding a slew of new “chatting” features to its Messenger app, bringing it in line with apps like Facebook Messenger or Messages on iOS. Emoji-reactions is the star of the show, but other features like voice memos and integrated Duo calls are also a part of this messenger update.
We first heard about Messenger emoji-reactions in May, when Google starting testing the feature on some lucky users. Now that emoji-reactions are available for everyone, you can tap and hold any message to react to it with an animated emoji of your choice.
Google is also adding animated stickers to its Smart Reply bar, which suggests messages and emojis to send based on your current conversation. If that doesn’t get the job done, you can send a voice memo or initiate a Google Duo call from the Messenger app. To start a Duo call, press the camera icon at the top of a conversation in Messenger.
You might notice some small new features in Messenger, like the option to edit photos before texting them to friends. These quality-of-life improvements are long overdue for Messenger and should bring texting on Android up to speed with other chat apps.
Messenger’s new features are available through the latest version of Messenger. If you don’t see emoji-reactions after updating Messenger, then go into “Messenger Settings,” press “Chat Features,” and enable “Chat Features.”