Emoji in Gmail

Anyone receiving messages send from Japanese cell phones to their Gmail or Yahoo mail (or Hotmail?) account may have noticed that Emoji can be displayed in your web mail inbox. The newest update to Google Labs, the optional experimental features that can be enabled in the settings screen, now has a feature called “Extra Emoji”, which when enabled allows for the insertion of emoji into ordinary email messages. When I realized that emoji support was included in all iPhones, even though it was disabled by default in those sold outside of Japan, I predicted that they would soon be spreading worldwide, and it looks like I was right. As far as I know, this makes Gmail the first non-Japanese service to seamlessly implement emoji input, but expect Apple to enable emoji on non-Japanese iPhones and for more systems to support this gradually spreading standard in the near future.

9 thoughts on “Emoji in Gmail”

  1. I’ve been using emoji on an AU phone with gmail for a while now. Funny thing is, while emoji is in gmail, it is not in google’s own phone.

  2. Japanese emoji are a specific set of code points and characters that make an actual standard, which is even in the process of being incorporated into unicode. Graphical emoticons have existed in chat systems and forums and whatnot for years, but not in a way that is platform cross-compatible.

  3. What is interesting with gmail is you have access to the phone’s full library of emoji, not just the ones that are compatible with other carriers. You can also view them on an email client (Apple Mail at least), not just via webmail. Though, they come down as GIFs.

  4. Gmail has long been able to display emoji from Japanese cellphones. Google was one of the major supporters for unification and Unicode codepoint allocation of emoji. This has been under development with the Unicode Consortium since last year. There was a lot of opposition to this, and for appropriate reasons, but it is moving forward. The Japanese phone companies have promised not to allocate anymore emoji as characters, but to rather properly use actual images from now on. Once the encoding is done, a standard set of emoji will be available for consumption even outside of Japanese phones.

  5. I can see emoji as pictures in emails that I receive on my GMX address, but the web interface doesn’t support inserting emoji pictures in emails, at least not directly.

  6. The emoji entry icon is only there if you turn on the special emoji option in the “Labs” tab inside gmail settings.

  7. If I receive an email message with emoji, I can’t view the emoji within Gmail on Firefox. The emoji greasemonkey script also fails here although it works elsewhere.

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