It looks like Google is starting to roll out an emoji chat reaction feature to its Google Messages app.
This a feature that's supported by RCS conversations only and will eventually make its way to every user who has RCS messages enabled. That last part is key, because if you use Google Messages but you're not in an RCS chat, which would be a conversation between you and someone else who also has RCS messaging enabled, then you likely won't see those options.
They are coming though and some users seem to already have access, according to XDA Developers and users on Reddit. The user in the Reddit thread also notes that they just updated the Messages beta. So it may not be coming to the non-beta version of the app just yet. Either way it appears to be a server-side thing that Google will have to turn on.
Emoji chat reactions in Google Messages will look similar to Messenger
If you're curious to know what the feature will look like when in practice, just imagine Facebook's Messenger app.
Its chats have emoji reactions which you can leave on any message that gets sent to you. In Google Messages when the reactions go live, you can leave a thumbs up, a smiley face with hearts, an angry face, a thumbs down and more.
There are seven total reactions, though Google could always add more. That being said the seven it has implemented would seem to get the point across for anything you'd want to say with an emoji reaction. If you liked someone's message, leave a thumbs up. If you didn't, a thumbs down. If it made you laugh, tap that laughing smiley face with tears.
Tap and hold to activate a selection
Selecting an emoji reaction is a pretty quick and easy process. Once things go live, all you have to do is tap and hold to activate the emoji reaction selection.
If you have the option, you should see the emoji pop up below the message, allowing you to pick which one you want to convey your feeling about what was said.
You can also use this tap and hold action to check and see if the emoji reactions are available to you. If they're not then the message should just end up highlighted and you'll get the ability to copy the message contents.
Google hasn't formally announced that emoji reactions are rolling out to everyone, so for now users will just need to wait and see when they arrive.