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5 Messages features to stay connected in more personal ways

These days I’m messaging loved ones more often since I haven’t been able to see them in person. Staying in touch with them is so important right now, and it may mean quickly checking in, showing support, or simply sharing updates throughout my day. Here are five ways Messages helps you connect with people in more personal and expressive ways:

1. Express your feelings

Now when you receive a photo, video or chat message, you can react to it in an instant. Just long press on the message and you’ll see animated expressions to choose from, like, love, laughter, surprise, sadness, anger and dislike. Reactions are available in Messages conversations with chat features enabled.

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2. Check in on loved ones

We’re expanding Smart Reply to include suggested stickers to make it easier to let loved ones know you care. If you’ve chosen to turn on Smart Reply suggestions, stickers will automatically show up as you’re texting, so there’s no need to search for one to share in the moment. Suggested stickers are currently available in English.

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3. Personalize your photos

With a media editor built into Messages, you can easily create art with your photos and share them right in your conversation. To get started, take a photo with the in-app camera and add text or draw on the image using brushes before sharing them with friends and family.

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4. Go beyond a text

Voice messages are a great way to communicate in a more personal way, especially if you don’t need an immediate response. They’re also perfect for those moments when you simply want to say something instead of sending a text. We’ve recently made it easier to send a voice message with a dedicated button. Now, you can easily let loved ones know you’re thinking of them with a meaningful message or share a quick update by holding down the microphone button within the compose bar to record and attach your message.

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5. Stay connected even when you’re apart

For the past few months, most of us have been relying on different ways to keep in touch with friends and family because we can't see them in person. With video calling integrated in Messages, it’s easy to move your conversation from texting to a video call to continue your catch up face to face. By tapping on the video call button at the top right corner of the app, you can now easily start a Google Duo video call with the person you’re messaging.

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I’ve been using these features with loved ones to make our conversations more personal and fun. Now you can try them out by updating the app to the latest version or by downloading Messages.

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