Anyone with an Android phone who engages in text messaging with iPhone users has experienced the frustration of the weird ways in which iOS-based iMessage responses are translated into text. But since Apple will never fix this problem by making iMessage interoperate with the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard, Google is finally doing something about it.
According to several independent reports, Google has tested and is now rolling out an update to its stock Messages app that will translate iMessage reactions as emoji, which is how they appear in Messages on iOS. So when someone with an iPhone likes a message, the Android user will just see a “Liked” emoji (a thumbs-up, I guess) instead of the text “[person] liked [message].” That latter and current style can be quite cumbersome since it quotes the entire liked message, and some can be quite long.
And yes, this update will also impact “Emphasized,” “Laughed,” and other iMessage reactions.
This change won’t solve all of the interoperability issues between iMessage and RCS, of course: iPhone users will continue to see green and blue message bubbles that differentiate between messages to/from Android and iPhone, users, respectively. But that’s on Apple. This will at least fix one of the more annoying things about messaging on the dominant mobile platform.