Sometime within the past several days, with no official announcement from Google or even an update in the Play Store, the official Google Voice app for Android has gained support for emoji.
Long time Google Voice users know that the service has never supported emoji until now, displaying either question marks or white boxes when they happened to appear in text messages.
Android Central first noticed this change, and reports that in their testing the emoji characters are appearing between Google Voice-to-Google Voice messages, as well as traditional SMS messages sent through a carriers to a Google Voice number. Additionally, if you forward your Google Voice messages to a different messaging app on your phone, emojis will also be transferred over.
Overall, this is a welcome change – but I’m still wondering how Google is going to incorporate Google Voice more fully into Hangouts. We were promised this late I/O sometime in early 2014, so we’re already late. Hopefully, we’ll know more tomorrow at I/O.[Android Central]