Google Messages updates bring iOS reactions and YouTube embeds

Google has detailed the new, recent, and upcoming changes to its Messages app to advocate for wider adoption of the RCS message protocol. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently clarified that the company has no plans to fix the “green bubble” SMS experience anytime soon, but Google’s feature additions improve messaging interoperability between iOS and Android. Earlier this year, an update was rolled out to the Messages app that allowed iMessage reactions to be displayed as emoji. Recently, it introduced the ability to also respond to SMS texts from iPhone users with emoji reactions.

To make navigating busy group chats easier, the app will soon allow users to reply to individual messages when RCS is enabled – they simply have to swipe on a specific message to reply. This will begin rolling out in the coming weeks. Google has also expanded access to the voice message transcription feature, giving people who own a Pixel 6, Pixel 6A, Pixel 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy Fold 4 the option to read the contents of a voice message instead . The feature automatically transcribes voice messages using machine learning and was previously only available on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

Another new feature is the ability to add reminders right in the Messages app. Users who set reminders for birthdays and anniversaries even get a notification when they open the application. In addition, the app now suggests flagging a message to track important information or schedule Meet calls and create calendar events if necessary.

Google has also equipped Messages with an in-app YouTube player so users don’t have to leave the application when someone sends them a link to a video on the platform. It is testing the feature, which would also allow users in some countries to chat with companies via Search and Maps from within the application. And for those flying United, note that the tech giant has struck a deal with the airline to offer free messaging to passengers using United WiFi starting this fall.

Finally, Google is updating its Messages, Phone, and Contacts icons to “better reflect today’s modern messaging experience” and to blend in better with Google’s other apps.

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