Back in May, Google revealed it was ditching its adorable blob emojis for a new, cleaner set of emojis in Android O, the next version of Google’s mobile operating system coming later this year.
On Monday, which happens to be World Emoji Day, Google celebrated by rubbing salt in the collective wounds of people who are still reeling from Google’s decision to kill its adorable blobs.
— Google (@Google) July 17, 2017
That tweet links to this Google blob post – I mean blog post – which is actually just a letter to Google’s blobs telling them they need to go away for no clear reason. It’s a very sad post, mainly because it didn’t need to be written.
Google is making a huge mistake by killing its blob emoji and replacing them with these safer, cookie-cutter emojis, which you can see below.
Google has a lengthy Medium post on why it’s shifting from blobs to more “consistent” emoji designs, but it’s a really boring read and there’s only one relevant paragraph, which is right here:
By formalizing the shape, grid, representation, and color, we were able to unify the set while retaining expressiveness and character. By creating a strong design system we also addressed a major shortcoming in our old style, and we enabled the emoji to be created by more than one illustrator while remaining consistent, legible, understandable, and representative in any context.
Now, I’m not a designer or anything, but I really don’t care about consistency across emojis. In fact, I prefer Google’s blob emojis – and use them as my default emojis in third-party apps like Slack – because they don’t feel overly-engineered. They’re one of the few Google products that feels hand-painted and unique: They’re not symmetrical or anything, but they don’t need to be. They’re just so, so cute. Isn’t that worth something?
The so-called “silver lining” Google provides here is that its blobs aren’t totally going away – you’ll still be able to use blob “stickers” in Google’s free Allo messaging app. But let’s be real: No one uses the Allo app, and saying blobs still exist there is a cheap draw to get people to use an unpopular app. If Google really cared about blobs, they’d make the redesigned emojis the default for Android and other Google products, but allow blobs to be an optional default. Right now, that’s not happening – and it’s a real shame.