Gmail will finally get a time-saving emoji feature, but there’s a catch

Google is working on giving Gmail users the opportunity to react to emails with a single emoji on iOS and Android phones.

Rumors regarding emoji reactions on Gmail have been circulating for several weeks although, outside of a few screenshots, we hadn’t seen it in action until recently. Industry insider AssembleDebug managed to get the feature working on their Android device and shared their findings on TheSpAndroid blog

According to the report, a new button will appear “to the right of the email” next to the three-dot menu. Tapping it opens a small menu where you pick from five default emojis: a sparkling heart, a party popper, a thumbs up, a laughing face, the praying hands (which people use to say thank you), as well as your run-of-the-mill smiley face. Once selected, that emoji appears in a reaction bar below the message, as you see in messaging platforms.

Gmail emoji reactions

(Image credit: AssembleDebug/TheSpAndroid)

TheSpAndroid states there will be two other places “from where you can react on an email”. There will be an Add Reaction option in the three-dot menu plus an extra button at the bottom of an email next to Reply, Reply All, and Forward. 

This feature will reportedly work on email threads that include multiple people. They explain that “it may be possible to react just by tapping” emojis somebody else added previously. Of course, users will be able to send any emoji they want by tapping the Plus symbol in the small window that pops up. You’ll have the full library at your disposal.

Gmail emoji access

(Image credit: AssembleDebug/TheSPAndroid)


As fun as this update may sound, there are several limitations present with one in particular that could potentially ruin the experience. 

If other people don’t use the official mobile app, they’ll receive the emoji reactions in separate emails. Imagine sending an email out to a group of people and getting spammed with multiple “emails of emoji reactions”. Not fun. It's important to note that the browser version of Gmail may not have the new emoji support.

It looks like Google is aware of the spam problem as users won’t be allowed to react to emails sent to a large group. So there is some mitigation, but it probably won't be enough to stop the spam. Also, you won’t be able to send emojis to encrypted emails or any received via BCC. The limit for reactions is capped at 20 for one person. In a group, the limit is bumped up to 50 for all.

It’s unknown when this update will roll out. However, AssembleDebug claims it will most likely happen sometime this month and “in batches.” If this comes true, we hope Google quickly releases a version for browsers soon after or installs extra preventative measures to slow down the spam. 

Gmail is a widely used service, but you might find its security capabilities rather lacking. For more options, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best secure email providers for 2023

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Windows 11 finally gets 3D-style emoji (about 2 years too late for some folks)

Windows 11 has a new preview build and it introduces 3D emoji, plus it takes an important first step for change on the security front.

You may recall that 3D emoji were promised by Microsoft in the past – the distant past, in fact, since this was something that was supposed to launch with Windows 11 – but they’re finally here. Putting paid to what was quite the controversy almost two years ago (we’ll come back to ‘emojigate’ shortly).

Build 25905 for the Canary channel gives us some smart-looking emoji that are nicely fleshed out with a 3D-like appearance.

As Microsoft notes: “These emoji use gradients to bring the design style that our customers have been asking for.”

Windows 11 3D Emoji

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Elsewhere in this preview build, security has been tightened thanks to the introduction of Rust in the Windows Kernel. Not rust as in metal-gone-bad, but Rust as in the coding language which offers advantages over C++ (the currently used programming language), notably in terms of memory safety (and defending against exploits that take this route).

At the moment, the initial steps with Rust are just a “small trial” as Microsoft describes it, but expect the Windows 11 kernel to get rustier as time goes on.

It’s also worth noting that the Microsoft Store now has an AI Hub, and not just for the Canary channel, but all testers who are running version 22306.1401.x.x or better of the store.

We discussed this in detail yesterday, but the idea is for Microsoft to highlight some top apps that make good use of AI (and more besides, eventually).

Check out the full details of everything going on in this new preview build by reading through Microsoft’s blog post on the release.

Analysis: Fiery feelings over emoji

What’s all this about ‘emojigate’ then? Well, as mentioned, Microsoft did tease 3D-like emoji before the release of Windows 11, promising that they’d arrive with the OS. However, when Windows 11 launched in October 2021, the redesigned emoji looked nothing like the promised 3D-style affairs, and were simply flat icons.

That caused quite an outpouring of rage on social media. While emoji may seem like a relatively unimportant facet of an operating system to some folks, to others, they’re a key part of the experience and communicating with friends. More to the point, people don’t like feeling duped, and indeed at the time, some threw accusations at Microsoft of ‘scamming’ them.

Over the top, yes, but that’s how folks can react when they feel they’ve been lied to in some way. Microsoft explained that the wrong graphics had been used for teasing the feature, and there had been some kind of a mix-up, but that didn’t sit well with some Windows 11 users back at the time, either.

At any rate, Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Program manager at Microsoft, told the disgruntled users that the 3D emoji could arrive in Windows 11 at a later date – and they finally have. At least in testing, anyway, and they should be in the release version of Windows 11 later this year.

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WhatsApp for Windows 11 is making emoji even easier to use

It would be fair to say that it is the mobile versions of WhatsApp that tend to get the most love and receive new and exciting features fastest. But that is not to say that the web and desktop versions are ignored; far from it.

An excellent case in point in the brand-new update that's currently rolling out to users of the Windows 11 and Windows 10 version of WhatsApp who are signed up to take part in the beta program, and introduces exciting new emoji-related features.

At the moment, you will be familiar with the process of inserting emoji in your message by making use of the emoji picker. This is somewhat different to when you're using WhatsApp on your mobile, where you can switch to an emoji keyboard and also easily access frequently used emoji.

But with this latest update, there is a new option at your disposal: emoji shortcuts. This is very much what it sound like – a quick and easy way to insert emoji that should enable you to compose messages faster than ever. And for anyone who is a touch typist, it will come as a real boon.

Accelerated emoji insertion

The shortcut works when you type a colon followed by a few letters. For instance, type: hello, and a pop-up emoji selection bar will give you the option of quickly selecting the waving hand emoji to insert. As with all forms of auto-complete/text suggestion, you do not have to type a full emoji name in order for it to appear; as soon as you type the letter h, WhatsApp will show you the matching emoji it thinks you might want to use.

If all of this sound familiar, it could well be because you have used the web version of WhatsApp where the feature has been available for a while already. The arrival of this feature in the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app helps to bring about platform democracy, and reduces the number of differences you'll see when switching between WhatsApp on different platforms.

To enjoy the new feature, you need to be taking part in the WhatsApp beta testing program, and also ensure that you are fully update. Make sure that you have version 2.2206.1.0 of the Universal Windows Platform app installed, and you should be good to go!

Via WABetaInfo

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Microsoft Teams emoji are about to get more annoying than ever

If you've ever felt that you just can't express yourself enough on a Microsoft Teams call, then a new update coming to the platform could well be the answer.

The video conferencing service is set to introduce a new way to react to messages that will let you show exactly how you feel using emojis.

According to the official entry in the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the new “Microsoft Teams Expanded Reactions” feature will “allow users to apply any emoji as a reaction to chat messages”.

Over reaction?

Microsoft says that users will be able to pick from over 800 emojis “to react the way you want”, with reactions show in the chat window.

The feature is currently listed as “in development”, with an expected release date of March 2022. The company notes that, when released, the feature will be available to Microsoft Teams users across the world, and includes web, desktop, Android and iOS users. 

It will be the latest in a long series of additions and upgrades to Microsoft Teams as the company looks to continue helping users around the world enjoy hybrid working.

This isn't the first time that emojis within Microsoft Teams have been mentioned either, as a new selection of images were released by the company as part of the launch of Windows 11. The new 'Fluent Design' look did cause concern among some users following the release of some of the new emojis, with users mocking their unclear depictions and puzzling looks.

While Fluent design is now available for Windows 11 and Office 2022, as well as key apps such as Paint and Calendar, it is still yet to appear in Teams, with Microsoft only saying that the new designs will arrive in February 2022 alongside live transcripts of calls, better meeting options, and other features.

However there were raised eyebrows across the technology world in November 2021 when Microsoft revealed that its infamous Clippy mascot was coming to Teams as part of a Retro Sticker Pack.

Recent data collected by software firm StarLeaf found almost all (97%) businesses say that tools such as ZoomWebex and Teams are now essential to their operations.

More than half (57%) of the 2,000 UK-based respondents claim their company would not be able to operate for more than an hour without access to their communications tools, while 27% admitted they would struggle to function for even 30 minutes.

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Windows 11’s new emoji – including Clippy – won’t be coming to Windows 10

Windows 11 has just got some nifty looking new emoji, as you may recall, which are Fluent-style and modern-looking affairs – but these won’t be coming to Windows 10.

They landed earlier this week as part of a preview update for Windows 11, so are officially still only in testing even on that OS, although Microsoft will send them fully live for Windows 11 in December (on Patch Tuesday, which will be December 14).

The emoji – which include the paperclip being replaced by Clippy, the iconic assistant who pestered, er, we mean helped us in Word back in the day – will not arrive in Windows 10, or at least that appears to be Microsoft’s plan as reported by Windows Latest.

The tech site claims that Microsoft has no intention of drafting the modern emoji over to Windows 10, and that they will remain exclusive to Windows 11, at least for the time being anyway. Windows Latest does further observe that Microsoft might change its mind in the future, though.

Analysis: Emoji aren’t high on most folks’ Windows 10 wish-lists

Of course, many Windows 10 users will say that they won’t especially be losing much sleep over the lack of refreshed emoji, and that’s a fair point. They aren’t a huge deal, and not a reason anyone would be upgrading to Windows 11, that’s for sure.

That said, they are nice to have, and it wouldn’t be much of an effort to pipe them over to Windows 10. Maybe Microsoft feels that they’d stick out a bit as odd, as the old operating system hasn’t had the benefit of the Fluent Design-style makeover that Windows 11 arrived with.

Whatever the reasoning right now, we could see them ported over eventually, as the report observes. In the meantime, Windows 10 users will just have to stick with their tired old vanilla emoji.

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