Emoji reactions are a staple social media feature these days, appearing on everything from Facebook to Telegram to Discord. They allow you to quickly react to posts and messages without necessarily having to reply to them. Now, emoji reactions are also coming to a rather unlikely place: Gmail. Yes, you read that right.
Google has introduced a new feature in Gmail that allows users to express themselves quickly and creatively with emoji reactions. People can now respond to emails with emoji, such as thanking someone for a forwarded hotel reservation or expressing nostalgia over shared childhood photos. These reactions resemble the reactions in instant messaging apps and other apps, and they add an interesting new spin to something that was otherwise rarely changed over the past few years: emails.
A smiley face icon will appear below messages on both mobile and desktop versions of Gmail for personal accounts. By clicking the icon, users can choose from a menu of emoji and send them with just a tap. If someone else has already responded with an appropriate emoji, users can click on that one to join in, as you’ll be able to see all other emoji users have sent. Certain emojis, like 🎉, may even have special animations or effects.
This feature is available for the latest version of the Gmail app on Android and iOS devices. Under the hood, these are just one-tap email replies. For users using other email clients, emoji reactions will be seen as separate emails rather than as reactions under the email. This is to be expected, really. This is similar to how reacting to an SMS message on iMessage or Google Messages just makes the other party receive a text message rather than seeing the reaction. This is not to say that other email clients won’t implement a way to parse those “reaction” emails and have them show up as actual reactions — that can perfectly be implemented. But that’s really up to the development team of those clients.
Emoji reactions should roll out to everyone within the coming weeks, but you might have it already.