Google Messages rolls out iMessage-like emoji reactions: Here's how to use them

Google Messages' Reaction Effects help you celebrate, show your anger, act shocked, and more via text message.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Artie Beaty/ZDNET

Just a few weeks after announcing that Gemini AI is coming to Google Messages, Google's text messaging app with over 1 billion monthly active users on Android got a little more fun.

Google Messages users can now react to text messages with 10 different animated emoji that don't just appear as a response, but send an animation to match. Google first announced Reaction Effects in November 2023, but the feature only recently got a wide rollout.

Also: Google Messages introduces 'double tap to react' feature that makes responding a lot faster

Each of the 10 reactions have a different effect: thumbs up, thumbs down, heart, crying, laughing, party popper, tears of joy or crying laughing, surprise or shock, poop, angry, or enraged (the last two send the same animation). Hundreds of other emojif are available to respond with, but these select 10 have animations that go along with them.

Choosing the thumbs up causes a trio of animated hands to appear and give a thumbs up sign, picking the heart makes a heart flutter above the message, selecting the crying effect makes an umbrella and raindrops show up, and so on. Tap the poop response, and you're greeted with what appears to be a chocolate ice cream cone that's flipped upside down and quickly surrounded by flies, indicating that... that wasn't ice cream.

My personal favorite is the tears of joy/crying laughing effect that shows two inflatable waving tube guys appear in celebration.

To use the feature, long press on a text message (either SMS or RCS) and the available emoji will appear. Choose one of the 10, and your reaction and corresponding animation will be sent.

Unfortunately, the feature only works between Google Messages and Google Messages, meaning you can't include your iPhone friends. If the recipient doesn't have Google Messages, they'll see the emoji but not the effect.

If you're not interested in Reaction Effects, you're out of luck for now -- the feature can't be disabled.

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