WhatsApp has created its own range of emoji for its more than 1.2 billion users، shunning those created by Apple، Google and Samsung، the guardian reported.
The new icons، visible for the first time in a beta version of its Android app، are nearly identical to those created by Apple، which WhatsApp had previously used not only in its iOS app، but also in its Android and Windows versions. Only a few small differences give away the update: for instance، the water pistol has turned orange، the ghost emoji no longer has lopsided eyes and the frying egg is now double-yolked.
It’s not clear what prompted the update، and neither WhatsApp nor its owner Facebook have replied to a request for comment، but experts say it’s likely the app is following others including Facebook and Twitter in attempting to extricate itself from relying on third-parties for emoji design.
“At a glance these could be confused for Apple’s own emojis،” says Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia، who first noted the update. “It appears that the brief for this project may have been ‘take Apple’s emojis، and change them enough so we can call them our own’. Is that a bad thing? Perhaps not، given how change-averse most users can be.”
WhatsApp’s corporate sibling Messenger، née Facebook Messenger، has also received its own emoji changeover: the app، which previously had its own special emoji library، is now using the images created for the main Facebook app. Unless users are on iOS، in which case it’s now using the default iOS emojis.
For those who have lost count، that means Facebook and Messenger now use one unique emoji set (unless you’re on iOS)، WhatsApp uses a second (if you’re running the Android beta) and Instagram uses whatever the default is on the phone.
The changes highlight a growing problem for social media services: cross-platform communication confusion، driven largely by Android manufacturer fragmentation.
By basing its icons so heavily on those already in use on iOS، WhatsApp avoids the worst of the confusion. Normally an iPhone user texting a Samsung Galaxy owner، for instance، finds their red flag turns yellow، their prayer beads become a rosary and their cookie gets downgraded to two crackers. The same conversation on WhatsApp avoids the problem، since the Samsung emojis are replaced with WhatsApp’s own version.