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Google's latest update to its Google Messages app for Android not only includes the full public release of its long-awaited support for iOS reactions but also brings with it a slew of other new features to improve communications between Android and iOS users and a handful of quality of life improvements.
The most important feature of the new update is likely to be the addition of support for iOS reactions to the full public release of the app. After having been in beta for over a month, the compatibility feature will take the iOS reactions that were previously translated on Android devices to simple text and instead convert them into native Emoji most closely representing the reaction's sentiment, including 👍, 😍, 😂, 😮, 😥, 😡, and 👎.
This new capability is joined by additional features aimed at smoothing out Android to iOS conversations. Google also adds support for sharing Google Photos links into Messages to send full-quality photos and videos to non-RCS users on iOS. Similarly, YouTube links sent from an Android device to an iPhone will now also provide previews for the recipient.
Google and others in the mobile device industry have long-lamented Apple's unwillingness to adopt the RCS protocol that allows for rich messaging features between various devices. But, small adaptations like these should smooth out the divergent messaging systems used by Android and iOS in the meantime.
In addition to its iOS-centric additions, Google also enhanced several aspects of Messages to make users' lives easier. These qualities of life updates include the ability to automatically delete one-time password messages after 24 hours; the option to sort your inbox into Personal and Business messages; an automated "gentle nudge" to remind you of messages you haven't responded to; and birthday reminders for all of your contacts with birthdate info.
The newest version of Google Messages is available for download now from Google Play. Additional details about these changes and changes to some other first-party Google apps on Android can be found within the company's blog post on the updates.