Google has strengthened its iMessage and WhatsApp rival Messages with some brand new features. The Mountain View firm has rolled out an update to Messages which adds long awaited functionality to the app used by over a billion people. And Google has said this new Messages update will help people “in more personal and expressive ways” during lockdown.
In a post online they said: “These days I’m messaging loved ones more often since I haven’t been able to see them in person.
“Staying in touch with them is so important right now, and it may mean quickly checking in, showing support, or simply sharing updates throughout my day.
“Here are five ways Messages helps you connect with people in more personal and expressive ways.”
The headline features of the new Google Messages update is the addition of animated emojis.
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Now when you receive a message from your friends or family you can react to it at lightning fast speeds.
To access the animated emojis you’ll just have to do a long press on the message to see the options at your disposal.
Animated emojis for like, love, laughter, surprise, sadness, anger and dislike are all available.
While the Messages update also strengthens the Smart Reply feature, which makes it easier “to let loved ones know you care”.
Now Smart Reply will include suggested stickers which automatically show up as you’re texting so there’s no need to search for one to share.
Google Messages is also getting a built-in photo editor which lets user easily tweak a picture and share it within a chat.
You can take a photo with the in-app camera and then draw on the image before sharing it with friends or family.
The Google Messages update also brings with a dedicated button for voice messages if a text or emoji doesn’t convey the emotions you want.
To make a voice recording you simply have to hold down the microphone button within the compose bar to record and attach your message.
While the final new feature added to Google Messages is being able to easily start a video call via Google Duo.
Outlining this functionality Google said: “For the past few months, most of us have been relying on different ways to keep in touch with friends and family because we can’t see them in person.
“With video calling integrated in Messages, it’s easy to move your conversation from texting to a video call to continue your catch up face to face.
“By tapping on the video call button at the top right corner of the app, you can now easily start a Google Duo video call with the person you’re messaging.”
Some of these new features are already available on rival chat apps, but the millions of users of Messages will undoubtedly welcome the enhanced feature set.