Google decided to compare Apple’s energy with its Messages app. The app is getting a series of updates that will take its texting functionality to a better level Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp by Meta. But one feature designed to make the reaction to an Emoji message more consistent can be frustrating at first for those using a non-Android phone or a third-party Android texting app.

The Messages app will now let you reply to any text with an emoji, according to a blog post Thursday. But if the conversation is not over RCS – the text messaging standard that Google uses to provide advanced features in its Messages app – it will do this by sending an SMS text indicating the emoji used when quoting the message for which the reaction is intended. This is similar to how the iPhone handles emoji reactions to text messages between iPhone and Android users.

Earlier this year, Google added a feature that translates these iPhone texts into the appropriate emoji reaction for Android devices.

Google’s Ian Jendzejovich, who is the product lead for Messages, told reporters at a roundtable that the feature is meant to add consistency to the Messages app, not to completely block the ability to respond to non-RCS conversations. As for how the texts might initially appear in Apple’s iMessage, Jendzejovic said it will be up to Apple to decide whether or not to parse those texts into an appropriate emoji reaction.

Upcoming updates to Messages will also bring built-in replies, the ability to watch YouTube videos in conversation, and active suggestions based on in-conversation texts. These suggestions can include setting a reminder when a birthday is mentioned, offering to star a message when it contains an important detail (such as a door unlock code), or setting up a Google Meet call when a conversation mentions the need to set up a meeting. These suggestions can be turned off if they seem too intrusive.

Google is also expanding the availability of the voice transcription feature introduced on the Pixel 7. This feature will appear in the Pixel 6 line, as well as the Galaxy S22, Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 from Samsung.

Google Messages will get a new set of icons that will display overlapping blue shapes for Messages, Phone, and Contacts.

Google will partner with United Airlines to send free RCS text messages on flights via in-flight Wi-Fi. This is similar to offers from other airlines that include free text messages through services such as iMessage and WhatsApp.

While some of these features are already common in competing text messaging apps, they’re especially relevant because Google continues to push Apple consider adopting the RCS text messaging standard. RCS is proposed as a replacement for SMS and MMS as it is able to support features not supported by older standards, including text input indicators, higher quality photos and message encryption. However, RCS is largely managed by Google, and the standard is generally not available outside of the company’s Messages on Android.

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