Popular all over the world, the different interpretations by competing operating systems mean things get lost in emoji translation
Android users and emoji enthusiasts everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief that WhatsApp, the messaging smartphone app boasting more than one billion members worldwide, has finally released an update to include the small pictographs Apple users have been sending in messages for months.
Available on Google Play, the new selection of emojis will bring WhatsApp’s Android collection up to eight tabs, finally unleashing the potential of the operating system’s users to go to town sending each other turkeys, unicorns, burritos, and robotic faces in an effort to add nuanced meaning to their instant messaging.
Other updates include the ability for Android users to add as many as 256 people to a group chat, with the previous upper limit topped off at 100.
WhatsApp, purchased by Facebook has been one of the fastest growing apps in the world, with its executives now styling it to investors as a social network capable of competing with Snapchat and Twitter. The app has seen prodigious growth in the last year, with its 1bn monthly users now sending as many as 42bn messages every day.
Emoji first appeared in Japan in 1999 as a feature included in pager messaging designed to appeal to younger users. The images are now controlled by the Unicode Consortium, an international standardisation body which decides how written characters in all languages can be represented in digital form.
However, despite Unicode determining the backend design of an emoji’s code, different operating systems around the world have each added their own individual interpretation to the emoji’s design, which can, as the video below shows, sometimes lead to considerable confusion among users who think they are sending a cookie and the recipient receives a cracker. That’s just how the emoji crumble.