Google and Apple team up to finally bring diversity to emoji characters


Emoji human

In a newly proposed update to Unicode, both Google and Apple are working together to bring more diversity to those little yellow smilies (better known as emoji) that are all the rage on messaging and social networking apps. Working with the Unicode Consortium, the proposed update to Unicode 8.0 will introduce a skin tone modifier — using the Fitzpatrick Scale of dermatology — that could be added to existing emoji (smilies and other basic human characters) to change the skin color to better reflect the identity of the user. You know, because we don’t all look like Simpsons characters.

Unicode Skin Tone Fitzpatrick scale

Emoji skin tone adjust

How it works is the user would select the usual emoji followed by a color swatch to change the skin color. It’s really easy. The best part is for legacy mobile devices that haven’t been updated to the new code (8.0), the skin color would fallback to the old color on the receiving end of things. But not everything is official just yet.

The Consortium still needs to accept the changes and implement them before we’ll see them in Hangouts, WhatsApp, or Facebook or other messaging services. But with tech’s biggest already in agreement (and breathing down their neck), something tells me they wont stand in the way of political correctness.

[Unicode | via TechCrunch]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. What colors would be available? Could I make a dude green or would it only be skin tones?

    1. The 5 skin tones pictured above.

      1. thx

        1. No green skin tone makes David Banner angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

  2. I’m still going to rock the yellow faces #simpsons

  3. Can’t wait I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have multi colored faces.

    1. If you eat some Fruit Loops, you can have multi colored feces.

      1. That’s a lot of fruit loops.

  4. i honestly feel like this is very unnecessary, just make the people a generic color.

    1. I’m not a Simpson’s character give me some color.

      1. understandable, buy you are not an emoji character either. It’s not really a representation of you.

  5. What is wrong with yellow faces? This will cause more division than unity. Are Asians only allowed to use the yellow now?

    1. This. The only logical conclusion unfortunately seems like it would be to use a skin color that no one possesses. Blue. Blue people.

  6. shoulda kept the green lil droid guy emojis…thos were my fav

  7. whats with the round eyes? what everyone has round eyes, where’s the diversity?

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