Facebook, Google and Apple Announce New Emoji Updates for World Emoji Day
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has dampened enthusiasm for event days in 2020, today is World Emoji Day, which aims to celebrate those small, cartoonish characters than have now become a significant part of the way people communicate.
New Emoji Updates
Indeed, according to research, some 92% of people have used, and/or regularly now use, emojis in their messaging. Many people who were once opposed to adding smiley faces and the like to enhance their comments now see the utility, and that’s lead to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all providing quick emoji responses, in the form of Reactions on posts, to make it easier for their users to communicate, quickly and effectively, often via smaller, mobile keyboards.
Given this, whether you like them or not, emojis are significant. And marking World Emoji Day 2020, Facebook, Google and Apple have all released new info regarding their emoji options.
First off, Facebook has upgraded its default emoji pack in Messenger with new animations.
— Messenger (@messenger) July 17, 2020
The upgraded animations look pretty slick. Facebook has experimented with various animations for its Reactions and other emoji sets, and that seems like the next level. Facebook-owned WhatsApp also recently launched animated stickers within chats as part of Facebook’s broader plan to integrate its messaging platforms.
Over at Google, the search giant has showcased a new set of more diverse emoji characters which are coming to Android this fall.
Google’s also shared a preview of new emoji characters, which will be made available with the release of Android 11.
s explained by Google:
“Hit that piñata or bang on the long drum to celebrate. Send an anatomical heart when the love is so real, so raw. Or perhaps you’ll identify with one of the new animals, like a super cute bison, an eager beaver or a polar bear that just needs a little love. There are also new food emoji, like a tamale (nom nom), a boba tea sure to make you thirsty (“black milk tea, boba, 30 percent sugar please”) and even a teapot for those who felt the “hot beverage” emoji (☕️) was simply not “tea time” enough.”
The anatomical heart seems a bit unnecessary. But maybe that’s just me.
Google’s also looking to add a new emoji bar for Android devices, which will make it easier for users to add emoji characters in their messages.
“With a growing set of emoji options, and an over 40% rise in the use of emoji during shelter in place, it’s important that you can quickly and easily find and send just the right one. To do this, we’re rolling out a quick access emoji bar to Gboard beta today, and to all Gboard Android users in the coming months. Soon you’ll be able to send not just one, but five red-hearts when you want your friend to know how much you wish you could be there for them.”
So, essentially, it’s Google’s answer to Reactions, but it’ll be universally available when users are typing in any app.
Also on the new emoji train, Apple has shared a preview of upcoming emojis that will be added to iOS.
You’ll note that these are the same as Google’s Android set, just different versions. That’s because any new emoji characters need to be approved by the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit organization which maintains emoji standards and guidelines. Whenever a new emoji is added, it comes via the UC, and is then translated into the characters that you see on your device.
This ensures that messages can be sent between devices, for example, with reference code for each image built into the respective operating systems. They just look a bit different.
As per Mac Rumors, the new updates will include pinched fingers, new animals, and, again ‘anatomical heart and lungs’. Honestly, I don’t see why people would want that, but there’s clearly some use case.
In addition to this, Apple has added new headwear options to its Memoji characters on iOS 14.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 17, 2020
As noted, whether you like them or not, emoji characters have clearly become a significant element in the modern communicative process, with most people now using them, at least in some form, within their digital interactions.
As such, it’s worth noting the latest emoji trends, and maybe celebrating by adding a couple of emojis to your updates today.
Also, as a related aside, please take a moment to pay tribute to Microsoft for somehow making emojis, which are designed to enhance expression, even less expressive than normal text:
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) July 17, 2020
It seems impossible that adding emojis could reduce the emotional value of a message, but somehow, Microsoft has found a way. Amazing.
What would Emoji Day be without…new emoji!?
July 17: It’s up there with Mother’s Day, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. That’s right, we’re talking about World Emoji Day.
Never heard of it? Before my career in the world of emoji neither had I. But soon enough, I learned that the calendar emoji (of which there are three ? ? ?) has officially ordained July 17 as the day we honor all things emoji. Traditional ways of celebrating include: sending emoji, receiving emoji, asking existential questions about emoji…or offering a sneak peek at some new emoji.
Did someone say new emoji?!
Last year, we sent a proposal focused on introducing more empathetic expressions and finding opportunities to bring equity to the keyboard to the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit organization that maintains emoji standards and guidelines. We’ll see some of those efforts released this fall with a slightly smiling face, an emoji of two people hugging, a man in a veil, a woman in a tuxedo, and a person feeding a baby.
Other emoji will be added as well—hit that piñata or bang on the long drum to celebrate. Send an anatomical heart when the love is so real, so raw. Or perhaps you’ll identify with one of the new animals, like a super cute bison, an eager beaver or a polar bear that just needs a little love. There are also new food emoji, like a tamale (nom nom), a boba tea sure to make you thirsty (“black milk tea, boba, 30 percent sugar please”) and even a teapot for those who felt the “hot beverage” emoji (☕️) was simply not “tea time” enough.
Additional characters across nature, activities and beyond will launch later this year, including a stump of wood (sure, OK), a magic wand (ta-da), and a woolly mammoth (better late than never, I guess). Along with other emoji approved by Unicode, these 117 new emoji will be available with the release of Android 11 in the fall.
Return of the King
In addition to creating new emoji, we took a new look at some of our old favorites! First, we gazed into the eyes of our favorite smileys to understand them on the inside and outside. Then, we designed the emoji to make sure they work just as well with dark-mode for late night texting ?. Finally, we partnered with experts from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Victoria Bug Zoo to ensure our favorite animals look authentic and can be their best selves.
A number of friends are returning with glow-ups, giving us more warmth and a certain je ne sais quoi … dare I say, “blobbiness” we so missed. ? It’s true, The King has returned. (After all, we promised to protect this perfect tortoise with our lives.) Try not to get lost in the open-hearted optimism of the sheep’s eyes. And I dare you not to smile back at señor bunny.
Our emoji, ourselves
With a growing set of emoji options and an over 40 percent rise in the use of emoji during shelter in place, it’s important that you can quickly and easily find and send just the right one. To do this, we’re rolling out a quick access emoji bar to Gboard beta today, and to all Gboard Android users in the coming months. Soon you’ll be able to send not just one, but five red-hearts when you want your friend to know how much you wish you could be there for them ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️.
To those who observe,
happy World Emoji Day. ?
— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) July 17, 2020
Read the first letter of each emoji:
Happy #WorldEmojiDay ✨
— Instagram (@instagram) July 17, 2020
?? states that produce the most:
— Sec. Sonny Perdue (@SecretarySonny) July 17, 2020
— penis demon (@frick_killme) July 19, 2020
Continue to stay connected to your students with #GoogleMeet. Learn about the new features rolling out in Meet later this year, including displaying up to 49 participants in tiled view: https://t.co/L6WhAKcFdJ. #WorldEmojiDay pic.twitter.com/58OIW3UrC0
— Google for Education (@GoogleForEdu) July 17, 2020
Apple Previews New Emoji Coming in 2020 Like Ninja, Piñata, Bubble Tea, Dodo, Tamale and More
The update also features 55 gender and skin-tone variants, along with new gender-inclusive emojis that can be used as an alternative to gendered versions, such as person with veil and person with tuxedo rather than the current woman/man options.
Apple shared design previews of several of the new emoji with Emojipedia, which can be seen in the image above and in more detail on the Emojipedia website.
Apple will adopt the new Unicode 13 emoji characters at some point in 2020, likely in a fall update to iOS 14. Apple last year introduced Unicode 12 emojis in the iOS 13.2 update that was released in October.
After the Emoji 13 update, there will, unfortunately, be a delay with Emoji 14 that will prevent new emojis from being introduced in 2021. Emoji 14 will be released six months late, which means it likely won’t be able to be added to smartphones until 2022.