Google Messages just stole one of the best iMessage features

Google Messages showing new poop emoji reaction animation effect.
(Image credit: Future)

Apple users have long enjoyed iMessage’s rich features, so much so that some Android users may feel a bit jealous. Thankfully Google’s been pretty active in updating the Google Messages app so that it functions and feels more like iMessage. In fact, it just ripped one of the best iMessage features — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Similar to how you can add an emoji effect animation in iMessage by long pressing a message and then selecting your reaction, Google Messages can now do the same thing. Some keen-eyed users uncovered the unexpected feature, which overlays an animation on messages in the app to correspond to your emoji selection. 

For example, if you select the laughing emoji, you’ll see a pair of air dancers (those inflatables you see at car dealerships) animate over the message. It’s a small detail that makes the Google Messages experience a bit more dynamic, which iMessage users have come to appreciate.

Google Messages new emoji reaction effects.

(Image credit: Future)

There’s a total of 10 emoji reactions to choose from, consisting of thumbs up, thumbs down, red heart, party popper, enraged face, crying face, angry face, face with tears of joy, face with open mouth, and the timeless classic — the poop emoji. You’ll want to give the latter a shot because it’s not what you’d expect to see.

If you’re not seeing these animated effects, then make sure you head over to the Google Play Store to make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the app. We’ve tried them on a Google Pixel 8 Pro and these animations appear to other Google Messages users. However, if you’re sending them to an iPhone user, they won’t see an animation effect, but rather, the usual text message notification of your emoji reaction.

iMessage to Android emoji reactions.

(Image credit: Future)

Google actually promised to bring these emoji reaction effects to Android devices last fall, but it looks like the roll out is finally going out to everyone running the latest version of the app. That promised roll out also included the ability to create a "photomoji" from pictures you’ve taken, along with Voice Moods when you record voice messages.

Of course, there’s still a lot of work to have these features run seamlessly between the platforms, but RCS is one step in bridging the gap. Just earlier this week, Google rolled out a feature to beta testers for RCS messages that lets them choose custom color options with threaded messages

More from Tom's Guide

Back to Mobile Cell Phones
Storage Size
Any Price
Showing 10 of 254 deals
(128GB Blue)
Our Review
Google Pixel 8 Pro 128GB -...
Back Market (US)
Our Review
Samsung - Galaxy S24 Ultra...
Best Buy
Our Review
OnePlus 12,16GB...
Our Review
Google Pixel 8 Pro 128 GB in...
Our Review
Google Pixel 8 Pro - 128 GB
AT&T Mobility
Load more deals
John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.

  • efun4me
    Didn't Whatsapp start this feature first (around May 2022) as against Apple (mid to late 2023)?
    Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • SouthboundYank
    No, you're not wrong. It's just Velasco trying to gaslight you into believing that Saint Apple came up with this messaging idea before anyone else. So tiresome. Lazy writing and coverage on this topic, right here.
  • cs124
    There's an article on Signal's page from 2020 documenting use if emoji reactions as well. Also, myself and my friends have been using this feature that Google *just* *stole* for well over a year now, so.....
  • Bradmyers99
    Um I have Android and messages have been like that since at least beta 14.1. I have a pixel 6a and I could do that since last summer if not even before that.