Google Messages is rolling out new updates to help users “ease” connection with the people they “care about.” Though the new features could be useful amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these updates could bridge the gap between Apple’s Messages app and Android’s Google Messages. Recently, a report suggested that Apple’s lack of motivation to update the Messages app creates a digital divide among smartphone users. For instance, when iPhone users receive messages from other iPhone users, the chat bubble is blue due to Apple-to-Apple integration. On the other hand, the same message sent from an Android smartphone would appear in a green box. Google, with its latest updates, is aiming to solve at least one pain point.
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In a blog post, Google is again urging Apple to adopt the Rich Communication Service (RCS) standard for its Messages app. It would essentially make the Messages app on iPhone more WhatsApp-like. Google says that Android users can see emoji reactions on messages from iPhone users. Earlier, say if the iPhone user ‘liked’ a message, the Google Messages app would separately receive a text saying, “Liked XYZ” or “Laughed XYZ”, where the ‘xyz’ is the content. However, the update still appears to be unavailable, and Google-Alphabet is rolling out the feature to select users/ regions.
Similarly, multimedia files like videos sent from Android’s Messages to Apple’s Messages are normally compressed, and the quality is substandard. The update would allow users to send Google Photos links so that iPhone users can view the video without compromising the original quality. It appears the feature works with long-press on the photo and then share the Google Photos link.
Some features are also rolling out globally after testing them in select regions. For instance, users in the US can now auto-delete OTPs to de-clutter Messages. Similarly, users can sort the app into personal and business folders. Additionally, the Messages app will now remind users if they have to reply to old, unread messages.
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Google is also helping users to remember birthdays. The blog post says Google Messages users will now get a reminder about friends and family members’ birthdays if they save the date while creating the contact. Additionally, the emoji kitchen that lets users create one single emoji by mixing two emojis is coming to Google Messages via Gboard keyboard.
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