Image Courtesy: The Verge
Google is changing the looks of 992 of its emoji to make them more “universal, accessible, and authentic,” the firm stated today. The new designs will be released alongside Android 12 this autumn, but Google says they will still be available on earlier versions with applications that employ its Appcompat compatibility layer. This month, they will also be available on other Google platforms such as Gmail, Chrome OS, Google Chat, and YouTube Live Chat.
None of the modifications are very dramatic. Instead, these are primarily the types of changes that make the meaning of each emoji easier for a larger variety of individuals to comprehend at a glance. The pie emoji, for example, presently resembles a traditional American pumpkin pie. That’s great for Americans, but in the UK, the design looked more like a tart than a classic pie. This should be addressed by the new, more general design.
In other areas, Google has given their designs a stronger, more exaggerated appearance, which is useful given how small they appear on most screens. The croissant and bacon emojis now have a shinier appearance, while the scissors have a more exaggerated sharp edge. Cars and taxis have also had their dimensions altered to make them more visually appealing.
Finally, the bikini emoji is no longer wearing an unseen person’s bikini, and the face mask emoji now depicts a face with its eyes open. According to Google, the adjustment was intended to reflect the reality that masks have become “a global means of offering kindness to others” rather than a symbol of someone being unwell.
It’s fairly uncommon for businesses to update their emoji in this way, either to clarify errors or to reflect shifting cultural expectations about how they’re used. Apple made a similar modification to its own mask emoji last year to depict a happy face beneath the mask, and it also altered its syringe emoji to make it more acceptable as a vaccination sign. It even changed its abacus emoji in 2019 after users pointed out flaws with its previous design. Not to mention Google’s redesigns of the burger and beer emojis in response to a public backlash in 2017.