Diverse emoji are better emoji.
For many of us, emoji are a part of our daily conversations. I text my best friend with a heart emoji and a sunrise emoji every morning, and I use the raised hands emoji to let my co-workers know that I’m having an IRL physical reaction to something in the Mobile Nations Slack chat.
Emoji are not just for fun, however. Since they’ve become a part of our daily rhetoric, they’ve also become a new way for us to show solidarity. Take Apple’s controversial decision to replace the pistol emoji in iOS 10 with a green water gun. The company basically took a stance in favor of gun control, and while there were plenty of its users that didn’t take kindly to the move, many considered it to be a brave political statement on Apple’s part.
Google’s on track to do the same. Earlier this year, it announced that it would be updating the emoji in Android 7.1 with 63 new characters related to gender empowerment and fair gender representation. If you’ve got a new Pixel or Pixel XL in your hands, you can freely use these emoji right now.
As a woman, part of the appeal of being an Android user is knowing how much Google attempts to make me feel included, but I’m aware that not everyone understands why this is important. Google knows this too, so Rachel Been, one of the designers behind the new emoji, and Agustin Fonts, one of the product managers, put together this informative post on why the company chose to focus primarily on gender inclusiveness in its latest batch of emoji.
We are very proud of these new emoji, in part because we had a hand in making them a reality, and also because they sparked meaningful discussion and spurred a new way of thinking about the representation of humans in emoji.
In addition to depicting more women in various industries, Google also added dual gender counterparts for emoji that previously only had male or female representation. Take a gander at the post to learn more about why Google made the decisions it did. Been and Fonts also get into the nitty-gritty of how Google designed the emoji to match the rest of the Android aesthetic.