Google updated the Messages app last year with an inline reply feature for responding directly to a specific message in a conversation. However, it requires users to have RCS enabled as part of Google's effort to convince carriers and developers to make RCS the standard messaging method despite existing compatibility issues with iOS devices. Direct reply is perhaps one of the most useful features to arrive on Google Messages' Android app in recent times, and it has finally landed on the web.
Messages' web version now allows users to quote a certain message when replying to it, like many of the top messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and Slack. The folks at 9to5Google first spotted the change, and Android Police can confirm that it is now available to a large number of users.
This comes in handy if you want to keep track of long conversations and provide context when sending a message. To use the inline reply feature, simply hover over the message you want to reply to and click the reply button that sits between the reaction picker and three-dot menu. You can then type your reply in the text box that shows up, with the quoted text appearing right above it. When you're finished, click the send button.
Prior to this change, users could only see the options to copy text or delete a message when hovering over an RCS chat on the web. This is a long-awaited capability that many Messages users on the desktop web client have long envied, and it's unclear why it took the feature quite a while to make its way to the web client.
There's a catch, though. Like its Android version, this capability is only available in chats where you've enabled RCS. For SMS and MMS threads, you'll only see the three-dot menu when you hover over a message. This seems to be the point of this feature: to get people to switch to RCS and make SMS a thing of the past.