In beta this week, Google is releasing 53 gender fluid emoji on Pixel phones. Later this year, all these emojis will be added by Google to all the android Q phones. This emoji has been specifically designed to appear neither male nor female, according to the fast company, Google is trying to simplify the emoji keyboard with more universal characters. This emoji is the modern interpretation of the emoji’s previous default yellow man.
176 pictures for people were released by the Japanese wireless communications company NTT Docomo in 1999 to quickly, efficiently, and emotively communicate on the tiny screens of their phones. we now have over 3,000 emoji and counting, twenty years later. And now emojis are getting more inclusive.
Entirely new characters and symbols are seen in some of these fluid emojis but on the other hand some are new race and gender combinations for existing emoji. This approach is more inclusive but it has many faults and problems. The emoji keyboard will be more difficult to analyze and understand. Secondly, it’s nearly impossible to include every possible combination of skin tone and gender in emoji featuring multiple people.
Moreover, different genders are present in emoji designs when the core Unicode standard doesn’t specify one. We can take en example like Google’s design for the person in a sauna is female, but on iOS the character is male. This will result in confusion as the emoji’s gender can change when messages are sent between platforms.
We have seen the Google’s new approach in the first signs of last year in Android Pie, which is to create emoji designs that could conceivably be either male or female. This approach will vary according to the different characters. We can state many examples as some emojis have gender less mid-length hair, on the other hand the clothes of the Dracula emoji has changed to an androgynous chain rather than a bow-tie (male) or choker (female). On the same place, the gender less merperson has its arms crossed in front of its bare chest to obscure it. Jennifer Daniel, Google designer, in an interview to fast company said:
There’s no singular way of getting it right, “Gender is complicated. It is an impossible task to communicate gender in a single image. It’s a construct. It lives dynamically on a spectrum. I personally don’t believe there is one visual design solution at all, but I do believe to avoid it is the wrong approach here. We can’t avoid race, gender, any other number of things in culture and class. You have to stare it in the face in order to understand it. That’s what we’re trying to do–to [find] the signifiers that make something feel either male or female, or both male and female.”
The 53 new emoji are exclusively a Google project, for now, which means they’ll still be assigned a gender if you send them to a non-Google smartphone. However, according to Daniel other companies will eventually adopt a similar approach. For the long race, she wants that emoji should be more universal. The old gendered emoji will not get disappeared but the new default on the emoji keyboard will be gender inclusive emoji.