Monday December 16, 2019
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Emoji- A Choice for Interracial Couple

Since 2015, it has been possible to pick skin tones for many of the people emojis, such as the mermaid, firefighter and baby

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FILE - Emoji characters are shown on the screens of two mobile phones in Paris, Aug. 6, 2015. VOA

Emojis, those cute, vivid images that liven up emails and texts, seem to come in all shapes, colors and sizes.

After all, there are more than 2,800 to choose from. Among the favorites: the smiley face, the thumbs up, the birthday cake.

But it turns out, there is more people want to say with emojis than what is currently available, including showing two people with different skin tones, together.

Since 2015, it has been possible to pick skin tones for many of the people emojis, such as the mermaid, firefighter and baby.

But it began to frustrate some users that they couldn’t show two people of different races holding hands or families with different skin tones, says Jennifer Lee, co-founder of Emojination and vice chair of the Unicode Consortium’s emoji subcommittee. They could only use the default yellow image.

Frustration over lack of interracial couple emoji

“The interracial couple emoji was something we’ve have heard a lot of demand for in terms of people on Twitter,” she said. “People have gotten used to pressing and seeing all these skin tones whether or not it’s a thumbs up or it’s a woman who is a mermaid or a baby. They would long press on the multiple families and long press on the couples and be like, ‘Why is it only yellow?’ Because they were trained to expect skin tones.”

Turns out, the birth of a new emoji takes some work. Anyone can apply to the Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that is run by volunteers. They set the standards for text in all languages and oversees emojis.

“As our mission says, we want to make sure that every language makes it into the digital age,” said Greg Welch, a board member of the Unicode Consortium.

When it comes to emojis, Unicode’s goal is simple: To make sure that when a person sends a smiley face, no matter the age of the phone or the type of computer software, the receiver sees a smiley face. Unicode, which is working on bringing Rohingya and Mongolian to the Unicode standards, has overseen the tremendous growth in emojis since 2010.

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FILE – In 2017, Apple brought new emojis to iOS, macOS and watchOS. Among them was a woman with headscarf (hijab). VOA

Emoji — a new language

“If you think about a language like English or Russian or Chinese, it’s evolved slowly over the course of centuries,” Welch said. “If you look at emoji, in the last five years, it’s exploded in use. It’s exploded in its vocabulary. This is almost like watching a new proto language emerge right before our eyes.”

With the help of Tinder, the dating site, Jennifer Lee pressed Unicode for an interracial emoji. There were technical complications as well as some tough choices, which of the many emojis that show love or families should be the first to be able to show different skin tones?

Unicode settled on two people holding hands after much discussion, Lee said.

“One of the reasons that that is the emoji of choice is that two people holding hands does not have to be a romantic kind of relationship,” she said. “It can be two friends, it can be a couple, it can represent family members. We felt it was the most versatile of the different emoji.”

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The approved interracial couple emoji will allow users to pick one of five skin tones and the gender identity for each person in a couple who are holding hands.

Unicode gave the code for interracial couple to companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google and others. They will come out with their own versions of the emoji, as well as 58 others, including a new menstruation emoji, a falafel emoji and a deaf emoji, later this year. (VOA)

Next Story

Whatsapp Releases a New Beta with Many Tweaks

Bug fix, new skin for select emojis in latest WhatsApp beta

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WhatsApp has released a new beta that brings in a number of tweaks. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has released a new beta that brings in a number of tweaks, includung a fix for a serious bug that caused the last version of WhatsApp beta for Android to crash for many users.

The flaw in version 2.19.335 has seemingly been fixed in the latest update, along with other changes such as new skin tones for select emojis, according to WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp updates.

“Fortunately the 2.19.366 beta update is finally available on the Play Store (if you don’t see it yet, please wait 30 minutes and it will be ready to be downloaded) that fixes the crash issue and all other bugs,” WABetaInfo posted on its website on Friday.

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Whatsapp’s new beta version has added new skins for 6 emojis. Pixabay

“WhatsApp has added new skins for 6 emojis,” it added.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp has become the latest Voice over Internet Protocol services provider to support call waiting feature even as the company has skipped adding call holding for now, a report said last week.

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Earlier, when somebody would try to call you on WhatsApp while you were already on the phone, they would hear it ring, but, no one would answer. The call would then get disconnected.

Call waiting is available in v2.19.352 stable (APK Mirror) and above of WhatsApp, and v2.19.128 (APK Mirror) of WhatsApp Business, the report added. (IANS)