Apple and Google proposing emoji Unicode standard

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emoji, literaly “picture characters”, are the small graphical icons that fill (or litter, depending on your point of view!) many Japanese mobile phone email messages, but within Japan the three main mobile phone service providers have all got different encoding representations for them and support different sets of emoji, meaning that although they all perform encoding translation when exchanging emails, it can be a bit hit-or-miss as to whether or not the message gets through. Next, add into the mix the iPhone with support for at least four different kinds of mail (SMS, SoftBank’s own iPhone-specific mailbox, webmail, and third-party POP3-based mailboxes), and even within the one device a lot of trickery needs to take place to make the experience consistent for the user.

Google have recently been ramping up their advertising of Gmail in Japan as they currently languish with the also-rans in the popularity stakes. One aspect of their advertising has been to highlight their support of emoji, but the lack of a standard encoding method makes everything a bit more complicated than it need be.

Thus, engineers from Google and Apple have got together to try to propose an encoding for these emoji (they have identified 674 of them!) that can be added to the official standard ISO/IEC 10646, as can be seen in this document, Proposal for Encoding Emoji Symbols. The proposal uses a few of my translations as reference documents, which is nice.

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7 comments »

  1. Preetam Rai said,
    March 18, 2009 @ 18:39

    Emoji is too cute to be for Japan only, I hope this proposal makes it easier to be implemented universally. A long time reader of your blog Ken. Thanks for translating all this stuff.

  2. Sohbet said,
    February 27, 2010 @ 03:25

    Thanks, Forever web pages..

  3. köpek said,
    March 27, 2010 @ 04:53

    I hope this proposal makes it easier to be implemented universally

  4. March 30, 2010 @ 05:41

    Thanks, Forever web pages

  5. kelebek said,
    April 7, 2010 @ 17:20

    Nice article and insight. Good to have bumped onto your blog and met you.

  6. April 27, 2010 @ 08:44

    very nice thanks for this article

  7. chat said,
    March 29, 2011 @ 03:47

    Thanks for the sharing of such information.

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