Google updates Android’s gun emoji to look like a water pistol years after Apple did the same thing. Google is one of the later companies to adapt the new design into its software. ( Emojipedia )
In 2016, Apple converted its gun emoji to a water pistol for unspecified reasons. It didn’t catch on until recently, amid the tense atmosphere on gun violence across America. Now, Google is following suit.
In the upcoming version of Android, the gun emoji will be turned into a toy-themed water pistol, a move that seems significant now than when Apple did it years ago, considering recent events regarding gun control and school shootings.
Google Updates Gun Emoji
In a blog post, Emojipedia said Google has updated its NotoColorEmoji library by converting the revolver with a brightly colored water pistol. The blog adds that Google was cautious about making the change, citing a desire to maintain “cross-platform communication.” Other companies that made the change include Twitter and Samsung.
A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed that the gun emoji design on Facebook platforms will be replaced with a toy squirt gun, but as of this writing, the new design doesn’t appear to be live yet. The spokesperson adds that Facebook is looking to bring the matter to the Unicode Consortium for further discussion. Microsoft, meanwhile, has declined to comment on its future plans regarding its gun emoji design, but to be fair, it was the first vendor to show the pistol gun emoji as a toy gun, but switched the same time Apple switched.
Coming With Android P
The new emoji should be adapted system-wide once Android P rolls out later this fall. It should be noted, however, that not all OEMs will get Android P at the same time, because each develop a version of Android P differently. Google’s main line of flagships, the Pixel phones, will definitely get it first, though.
As Emojipedia makes clear, Google’s design change is a matter of clarity in communication. It can’t risk users trying to send a water gun emoji from one platform then it showing up as a real gun within Android. If a person was to send a cutesy toy gun emoji to a person who’s using a platform that doesn’t support it, then all sorts of trouble and misunderstanding might ensue.
Google doesn’t explicitly mention the political climate around gun control, but it might have played a role in its decision. Americans, particularly a lot of millennials, have recently been hitting the streets advocating for gun control, and the subject remains heated and polarizing as ever. The movement, called March For Our Lives, arose when 17 people died in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February.
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