After gaining a Google Material Theme last month, Hangouts Chat is getting social with emoji reactions. The new feature is rolling out now on both the web and mobile version of Google’s enterprise-focused communication tool.

Emoji reactions are a staple of almost every modern communication app from Google’s direct competitor Slack to consumer services like Facebook Messenger and even Apple’s iMessage. Despite their informal association, Google notes how “Communication styles at work are evolving, and expressive communication modes are oftentimes preferred over simple text.”

Emojis, in particular, are a fun and effective way of accurately representing thoughts and feelings to help you build stronger personal connections with your team.

They are also a fast way to react “quickly and creatively” to messages that don’t warrant a full text reply. Many have also come to use them as a quick way to take polls.

Reactions allow you to quickly and creatively react to any message to show support, humor or empathy. For example, you can use them to celebrate good news, acknowledge a request, take a quick poll, and more.

On the web, users can hover over messages — including their own — until a pill-shaped panel appears. The smiley face icon on the left opens a floating “Add reaction” panel. A row of six “quick emoji” are available up top. These stay consistent across five tabs that group the emoticons under Face and people, Nature and food, Object, Travel and activity, and Symbol categories.

There is no search feature so users have to scroll through the long list. Fortunately, hovering over an emoji provides a text description. On Android and iOS, users can long press on any message to see the “Add reaction” icon.


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