Improved emoji reacts and photo management are also on the way
While Apple might not be interested in adopting RCS on iPhone, Google remains convinced it's the future of messaging on Android. Regardless of whether or not it's a good idea, the company continues to add all sorts of advanced features to Messages, making it easier than ever to communicate with friends and family around the globe. Today, we're learning about three new tools coming to the app in the near future, including changes to voice memos, emoji reactions, and more.
The folks at 9to5Google dug into the latest Messages APK, discovering all sorts of upcoming enhancements to the app. While none of these features are available just yet, it gives us a look into what's coming down the pipeline for Google's default messaging client on Android. First up are transcripts for voice memos, automatically translating your recorded messages into easy-to-read texts. Google says this feature is designed for when you're in an area where you can't listen to someone's recorded message, allowing you to communicate with your contact.
That said, it's hard to see this getting much use outside of some specific circumstances. While it's certainly an improvement over responding to someone's voice message asking them to resend it in text format, 9to5Google says the experience is much slower than voice typing with Assistant on the Pixel 6 while lacking the same level of accuracy. While it'll be a nice addition to have when necessary, it's hard to imagine this feature becoming the main way Android users interact with voice memos in Messages. That said, this seems like a pretty solid solution if you have a friend who just won't stop sending you recordings.
It's been a couple of years since Google added emoji reactions to its modern messaging platform, but it's finally getting some much-needed changes. Currently, you're stuck with just a handful of preset options, but in the future, you'll be able to select any emoji from your phone's list. Rivals like Facebook Messenger have supported custom emoji reactions for years, so it's great to see this coming to Android's default service. Although this feature isn't live just yet, the app does support showing these reactions today, so it's ready for whenever Google pushes this change out to users.
Left: Current photo picker. Right: Upcoming photo picker.
Finally, Messages is getting an all-new photo picker that doesn't require you to navigate to a secondary page to select recent images. Currently, you're limited to the most recent photo or screenshot on your phone. Soon, selecting older images will be as easy as scrolling down through a list.
Unfortunately, it's unclear when these changes will roll out to all users or whether they'll come through as a software patch or require a server-side update. Nevertheless, we'll keep you posted on when these features are ready for primetime.