Emojiologists* will tell you that sending a simple grinning face between operating systems is fraught with peril. Well, maybe not peril, but opportunities for social embarrassment – and in our cushy 21st century lives, that’s about as awful as things can get.

This chart from Grouplens at the University of Minnesota explains precisely why:

Aside from how ugly it’s possible to make a simple smiley face drawing, one other thing you might notice is that Google’s stand out like a sore thumb. Largely because they actually look like sore thumbs with faces:

Well no more. Google has caved to peer pressure and will be making the strange melty emoji faces look more like everyone else’s with the release of Android O. Nobody will mourn their loss. Well, almost nobody.

The change has been in the works for around 18 months now, and these are some of the fruits of their labour:

Definitely an improvement, but still some way behind the gold standard of emoji, embraced by Apple, WhatsApp and hundreds of street vendors hawking tatty emoji cushions.

Or as Vaughn put it when I sent him the new “thinking face”:

You can’t please everyone, Google. I think that roughly translates as 


* Unbelievably, Google Docs believes this to be a legitimate word. So it stays.

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