Google is modifying its 992 emoji model to make it “universal, easy to use, and genuine.” the company announced today. The new models will arrive this fall alongside Android 12, but Google says they will also be available in older versions with apps that use its Appcompat compatibility layer. They will also be coming to other Google platforms like Gmail, Chrome OS, Google Chat and YouTube Live Chat this month.
None of the changes are particularly drastic. Instead, they are mostly adjustments that make it easier for a wider range of people to understand the meaning of each emoj at a glance. For example, the pie emoji currently looks like a classic American pumpkin pie. It’s great for Americans, but it means that in the UK, the design looked closer to a tart than a traditional pie. A new, more universal design fixes this.
In some cases, Google has given its models a bolder, exaggerated look, which is useful given how small they appear on most screens. Croissants and bacon now have more shine when scissors have an exaggerated sharp edge. The proportions of vehicles such as cars and taxis have also been adjusted to make them more striking.
Finally, the bikini emoji no longer seems to be worn by an invisible person, and the face mask emoji now shows the face with the eyes open. Google says it made this change to reflect the fact that masks have become a “universal way to show kindness to others” rather than a symbol of someone’s illness.
It is not uncommon for companies to design their mothers in this way to either correct inaccuracies or reflect changing cultural assumptions about their use. Last year, Apple did similar adjustment as your own mask emoji shows a smiling face under the mask, and it has also changed the emoji of the syringe to make it more suitable for a vaccine symbol. In 2019 it even updated their abacus mothers after people pointed out problems with its old design. Let’s not forget Google’s burger and beer emoji reforms in response cry in 2017.
If you’re wondering why we’ve seen this kind of emoji news over the last couple of days, it’s because this year’s World Emoji Day comes down tomorrow, July 17th. Yesterday we saw a notice to the finalists this year’s new emoji batch, Facebook announced a new one emoji with voice for their Messenger service, and even Microsoft got involved in a new 3D emoji series In Windows, Office, Microsoft Teams, and more.