Google appears to be working on a new Gmail feature that would let users react to their inbox with emoji through at least the Android and iOS mobile apps.
Hidden code in the Gmail apps for iOS, as first reported by Steve Moser, and Android, as first reported by TheSpAndroid (also known as @AssembleDebug on Twitter), strongly suggests that Google is working on emoji reactions support for the world’s most popular email service.
Emoji reactions are, notably, already supported in some other email apps, including Microsoft Outlook. In Outlook, Microsoft shows these reactions not as a full email reply, but as a small icon on the email. It seems like a good alternative to replying to an email that only requires acknowledgment.
In Gmail, emoji reactions are apparently “coming soon” based on strings found within the Android app, where Google has also prepared a message that says that “you’re among the first Gmail users to get an emoji reaction. Soon you’ll be able to send emoji reactions yourself” which implies this could be tested in a limited capacity before widely rolling out.
It’s rather unclear how the feature will actually appear within Gmail or which emoji will be supported for reactions, but the features won’t be without some notable restrictions. Both the Android and iOS apps include notes about restrictions which allegedly include:
- Emails received via BCC won’t support reactions
- Encrypted messages won’t support reactions
- Email threads with “large groups” will not support reactions
- There’s a currently-unspecified limit on how much you can use a single emoji reaction
- Messages can only support up to 20 emoji reactions from a single person
- Messages can only support up to 50 unique emoji reactions
At first glance emoji reactions in Gmail seems like a weird idea, but realistically it could be quite useful as mentioned above. Currently, though, it’s unclear when Google plans to roll the feature out, as there’s been no official announcement or tease.
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