That the reactions don’t translate to iPhones isn’t a surprise. For one, Apple’s Tapback system only lets you use a specific set of symbols, so it’s unlikely the company’s Messages app has the ability to add an arbitrary emoji to a message. Even if it did, who knows if it would; after years of Apple users’ reactions showing up as separate text messages for Android users, it appeared as if the two companies had worked out a solution, with iMessage’s and Google Message’s reactions translating between the two platforms. And yet, when I tested it today with the standard reactions, I was back to the same old system of getting separate “[emoji] to [message]” texts instead of beautifully-displayed reactions when messaging between an Android phone and iPhone.
Regardless of whatever Apple and Google have going on, I am happy to see Google bringing this feature to its texting platform, even if it’s really only elegant when you’re doing RCS chats. It’s a feature I’ve always wanted everywhere, and it seems like Google’s working on making that the case, at least for the people using its app.