{Update: Wider roll} Google Messages tests RCS for certain iMessage-like responses.

Our APK Insight team has been monitoring Google’s efforts to integrate emoji reactions to RCS and specifically their own Messages app for the past few months. Some claim to be able to add iMessage-like reactions to RCS communications as of late.

Back in February, we learned that work had started in the Google Messages app to add emoji reactions—a typical feature of contemporary chat applications—to RCS conversations. This work also included an iMessage-like method of sending plain text fallback messages—liked a photo—to people who can’t receive RCS reactions.

A few RCS Universal Profile subreddit users are reporting that reactions are starting to show up, as noticed by Android Police . Unfortunately, the test appears to be rather modest at the moment, with only a few users reporting seeing reactions when they press and hold on a message they want to respond to.

If the test is active on your iPhone, you’ll be presented with a choice of seven emojis to use as a reaction in addition to the copy, delete, and snooze controls typically seen along the top of the app, as seen in the screenshots posted on Reddit.

Photo credit: radtheoristmango Notably, a short backup text is sent that specifies which emoji was used to react to a certain message if someone with RCS reactions accessible sends one to someone who has RCS but no reactions. Strangely, your contacts who only have access to SMS will not receive these fallback messages, which can only be delivered using RCS.

As the test is currently very limited and no two persons with the RCS responses have attempted to communicate each other yet, to our knowledge, all we have been able to view on the receiving end are these fallback messages, for the time being. As displayed to the sender in the screenshots above, messages would likely have their varied received reactions added underneath.

We’re not yet certain if the deployment is reliant on the beta version to Google Messages that launched earlier today and delivered the first indications of Google Fi integration.

Upgrade 7:55 p.m.: This evening, after another Google Messages beta update, problems for RCS texting appear to have spread more broadly, affecting a number of 9to5Google staff members as well as our readers.

The last screenshot above shows that tapping a message’s reactions opens a menu with further information about who left each reaction.
Are these responses visible in your Google Messages app right now? Please let us know in the comments section.
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