Emoji update: cheese wedge, mosque, unicorn and robots added to keyboard

New characters are chosen based on how much they’ll be used, whether they’re distinctive and how often people request them, emoji governing body says

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The Independent Tech

New emoji are to be added to the keyboard, including hot dog, taco and crab.

In all, 41 new emoji have been added, grouped under “diversity”, “faces and hands”, “food-related”, “sports”, “animals” and “religious”, it has been announced. But the new characters might take some time to appear on phones and other keyboards.

The new emoji are laid out in a release from the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit organisation that among other responsibilities lays out the standards for the emoji characters. Individual companies that make the keyboards — like Google and Apple — then have to implement them, which means that they can take some time to arrive and often look very different on other phones.

Five of the new emoji are skin tone modifiers, which take the normal emoji faces but allow them to be used with five different skin tones as well as the default yellow. Those changes have already been added to iOS and Mac OS by Apple.

The full list of the 37 other new emoji can be found on Unicode’s website, but it is mostly made up of new faces, symbols and food.

The Unicode Consortium has also laid out the full criteria that are used when deciding which emoji are added. In all, the group considers: expected usage level; imagine distinctiveness; disparity, such as having tigers and churches but not lions and mosques; the frequency that they’re requested; whether they’re general enough; whether they’re too open-ended; and if they can be represented by something that already exists.

The new update is known as Unicode 8. The next update is due in mid-2016, but the candidates — including face with cowboy hat, pregnant woman, croissant, avocado and fox face — have already been decided.

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