Google follows Apple, Twitter and Samsung in changing gun emoji to water pistol
In 2016, Apple got rid of its ‘gun’ emoji, swapping the realistic handgun with a picture of a bright green water pistol. The change wasn’t echoed across other tech companies at the time – with Microsoft actually changing its toy-gun emoji for a cartoon revolver.
It now looks like the tide is changing, with Google being the latest company to kill off its handgun emoji in favour of a water gun. This follows similar changes made by Twitter earlier this week, and made by Samsung alongside the launch of the Galaxy S9.
As noted by Emojipedia, Google has replaced its pistol emoji design with a new water pistol design on stock Android devices. According to the site, the reasons for this change may have less to do with making a statement about gun violence, and more to do with looking consistent with other platforms.
In a 2016 interview with Emoji Wrap, Google product manager Agustin Fonts said he was cautious about changing the gun emoji as the company “want to be as compatible with other systems as possible”. Given that Apple, Samsung and Twitter have all changed to water pistols, it may be the case that the balance has shifted enough for water guns to be the new norm.
As you can see from the above graphic, that leaves Facebook and Microsoft with firearms. You don’t want to be the company that brings a deadly weapon to a water fight, so it’s possible we’ll see a similar shift from those companies in coming months.
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The real question is, of course: who would win in a water fight? Clearly the answer is Google. Its orange water gun looks to be able to carry a lot more water than the others’ lightweight offerings. Still, there’s no pump action on any of the emojis, meaning there’s plenty of room for Facebook or Microsoft to take the lead with a two-handed super soaker.
Google’s new design is expected to be adopted system-wide with the launch of Android P later this year.