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Android Messages gets more like iMessage, but the green bubbles endure

Google is looking to back-up some of the bluster about it’s RCS-based Messages app with some substantive new features now rolling out.

The Android-maker, which is putting pressure on Apple to adopt the RCS standard and end the green bubble blues, is getting its own house in order with this week’s rollout. In a new blog post extolling the virtues of its Messages app, the company has detailed some new and recent changes, some of which make it more like Apple’s iMessage anyway.

Firstly, Android users will be able to reply to an individual message in a conversation without breaking the flow of a conversation. Just long press or swipe right on a particular message to respond only to that.

Google also mentions the rollout of emoji reactions earlier this year. It is now pushing the envelope further by enabling Android users to react to iPhone users messages too. Google also says voice messages are getting better and more accessible via an auto-transcription feature.

“Say you’re in a crowded space and get an audio message from a loved one: transcripts will let you “view” the audio like you would a traditional text message,” Google says in the blog post.

Google is also adding YouTube videos within Messages as a picture-in-picture option, making it possible to watch the video within the thread rather than moving back and forth between the apps.

The company is including Reminders within Messages, so you’ll receive a reminder to call mum on her birthday when you open the Messages app, provided the birthday is logged within your contacts. You can also set reminders to respond to messages individually.

Android users will receive suggestions to “star” messages that are thought to contain important information like phone numbers and addresses. Google also says Messages will automatically recognise certain messages like “Can you talk now?” by suggesting a Meet call, while it is testing the integration of business chat with companies found within Search and Maps.

Still no blue bubbles though, but them’s the breaks. Tim Cook’s advice? “Buy your mom an iPhone.”

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