Gmail Unleashed “Email Emoji Reactions” Onto An Unsuspecting World

Finally, the feature everyone has been asking for: Gmail emoji reactions, ArsTechnica wrote.

You can now reply to an email just like it’s an instant messaging chat, tacking on a “crying laughing” emoji to an email instead of replying. Google has a whole support article detailing the new feature, which allows you to “express yourself and quickly respond to emails with emojis.” Like a messaging app, a row of emoji reaction counts will appear below your email now, and other people on the thread can tap to add to the reaction count. Currently, it’s only on the Android Gmail app, but it’s presumably coming to other Gmail clients.

Of course, email is from the 1970s and does not natively support emoji reactions. That makes this a Gmail-proprietary feature, which is a problem for federated emails that are expected to work with a million different clients and providers. If you send an emoji reaction and someone on the email chain is not using an official Gmail client, they will get a new additional email containing your singular reactive emoji. Google is not messing with the email standard, so people not using Gmail will be most effected, ArsTechnica wrote.

There are some limits of this. It won’t work on business or school accounts, so you can’t respond to your boss’s email with a poop emoji. Emoji reactions are only for casual emails that people apparently want to send to friends. Emoji reactions also aren’t available for group email lists, messages with more than 20 recipients, emails on which you’re BCC’d, encrypted emails and emails where the sender has a custom reply-to address.

Engadget reported that Gmail has started rolling out the (emoji) feature to Android devices, and you’d know that you already have access to it if you see a smiley face icon at the bottom of an email when you open the app.

You can tap on the icon to bring up a menu where you can find emoji options to choose from. Everyone’s reactions will show up right next to the icon, and some of them will come with their own short animations. If you choose the party popper, for example, prepare for digital confetti on your screen upon sending one or upon opening a message with popper reactions. It’ll be a lot less fun for people on the email chain not using Gmail, though, because they’ll receive each reaction as a separate email.

TechCrunch reported that like emoji’s on instant messages, the new Gmail reactions are a handy alternative for emails that don’t necessarily need a written reply. Everyone in the thread will be able to see your emoji reaction, which may even include animation. For instance, the party popper shows digital confetti raining down on your screen. You can send up to 20 reactions to the same Gmail message.

Google provided some information about the reply emoji reactions:

Add an emoji reaction

* On your Android phone or tablet, open the Gmail app.
* Open a message you want to reply to.
* Below the message, tap Add emoji reaction
* From the picker, select an emoji you want to use. To display more emoji, select More +. The emoji you select appears at the bottom of the email.

Why you may get emoji reactions as an email:

Emoji reactions may look different and may appear as an email with a link that says “[Name] redacted via Gmail” if you:

* Use an older version of the Gmail app
* Set your Conversation view to off
* Don’t have a Gmail address
* Use a third-party email like Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook
* Use a school or work account

Personally, I’m a fan of using Emoji on social media. That said, I don’t think I would enjoy having to look into an additional email just to see the emoji someone decided to send me. This feature could get annoying really quick, especially for people who don’t use Gmail.