Introduced in Android N, Direct Reply allows users to respond to messaging apps right from the notification shade without needing to first jump into an app. Following Google Messenger and Hangouts, Facebook is testing the convenient feature in a beta version of Messenger.
In Android N, apps that support Direct Reply have a reply box at the bottom of the notification. Tapping it will bring up the keyboard and allow users to type and send a message. Current versions of Facebook Messenger have an expandable notification that features a button to send a ‘like’ sticker in response to a message.
Before Android N, Hangouts and other third-party messaging clients implemented a version of quick reply in the notification shade. This is still beneficial on devices that won’t be updated to Android N for a long time. However, moving forward, developers should adopt the official Android implementation of the feature.
Direct Reply is currently in testing in version 74 of Messenger and should hit the stable channel in a week or so. Alternatively, users can join the Facebook Messenger beta here.