If you use an Android device and regularly text to friends and family who use iPhone, you may have seen them send strange descriptive texts in response. Think “liked a picture,” “laughed at a picture,” or “highlighted.” [message text].”
These are not typed by a human. What’s happening here is that Android is doing its best to translate iMessage’s “reactions,” where iOS users can reply to messages with an emoji. It just does a pretty bad job.
But now Google is rolling out an update to Google Messages that will allow the app to decode the emoji a little better and display reactions as originally intended rather than as descriptive text.
The change was first spotted by 9to5Google after the site decompiled the latest beta version (10.7) of Google Messages. Inside, the site found a feature called “ios_reaction_classification” with the description “Show iPhone reactions as emoji”.
While iOS has a different set of reactions available in RCS chats, Google seems to take this into account by “mapping” a reaction to the closest approach available in Android.
After the initial publication a Readers with early access to the feature contacted with the website to show the mapping in action.
According to the site, the heart-eye emoji response to the phrase “That was a nice like” is Google’s translation of the iPhone “love” response, which feels like a decent approximation. When you tap a reaction, Google Messages will display the text “Translated from iPhone” (as shown in the third screenshot) to emphasize that something might be lost in the translation.
Another note on this demo: if an iPhone user changes their reaction after posting, it will also be reflected in Google Messages. Notice how the heart-eye reaction changes to a “laughing with joy” emoji between the second and third screenshots.
While this won’t impact users who have migrated their messaging habits to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram, it will certainly make dealing with iMessage diehards on Android a bit easier when the change comes out of beta and becomes available is all Google Messages users.
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