Google's default Android SMS application, Messages, may soon be getting a very Facebook-like "reactions" feature, alongside several others, based on a recent teardown of the app's app. Specifically, that's Messages version 5.7, according to 9to5Google.
The reactions are also not dissimilar to those found in iMessage for iOS. That means they could be the key to finally delivering cross-platform parity for Android and Apple's platform. Summarily, with the feature in place, users could long-press on a message to "react" to it. Those reactions include a thumbs up or down, angry, tears of joy, heart eyes, crying, and open mouth emoji.
Tapping on those emoji in the test variant of the feature doesn't do anything for the time being. In the future, users may be able to see the emojis lined out below the message or image that's been reacted to. Most likely, those will be shown with numbers in group messages where more than one reaction has been registered. It also seems likely Google will allow users to tap the reactions to see who reacted and how.
What else might be incoming for Google's Messages?
Google also hopes to set itself apart from SMS apps and more in line with popular chat apps by including at least two other features, the teardown suggests. The first of those is arguably going to be more popular and would enable users to draw on images before sending them.
That tool would include the ability to add text or draw directly. Drawing tools would include standards such as a highlighter, marker, or calligraphy, with a swath of colors to choose from. All of that could be expanded and enhanced in the future, as well as new colors being added. The teardown shows colors to be black, blue, green, hot pink, orange, purple, red, white, and yellow.
Last but not least, the teardown showcases a material-focused redesign. That would bring the home screen interface in line with apps such as Google Photos. When loading up the page, the top would now be populated by a rounded, card-style search bar. The "Messages" app title would populate the search bar, centered until tapped. Then it would animate to show a "Seach messages," message.
A three-dot menu would be shown at the right-hand side of the bar, while a search icon is on the left. Google's Messages app already allows message searching so there won't likely be many changes there. But the redesign will make that more prominent while keeping a menu available for other actions and settings.
There's no timeline on these features and they might not show up at all
Now, as with all features spotted in an APK teardown, reactions, on-image drawing, and a material redesign may not actually ever arrive in Google's Messages. These are still in testing behind-the-scenes. So the search giant may not ultimately incorporate them.
If it does choose to use them, Google may not implement them in the near future either. While each appears to be near completion or at least available to preview, there may be any number of bugs that still need to be worked out first.
As noted above, for the time being, interacting with any of the features beyond their UI showing up doesn't appear to actually do anything. That means their core functionality is turned off entirely for now. It does seem likely Google will turn the features on since they would tie in with its push to enable Android-wide RCS chat features for messaging on the platform. But users shouldn't expect the features to appear in the immediate future.