Update on emoji4unicode

Thursday, March 19, 2009

By Kat Momoi, Software Engineer and Emoji Encoding Project member & Takeshi Kishimoto, Gmail Product Manager

Last November Markus Scherer wrote about Google's efforts to encode Emoji (絵文字), or "picture characters," the graphical versions of :-) and its friends, and about the creation of the open source project emoji4unicode. Based on the feedback to the project from a variety of people, we have updated and refined the list of Emoji characters that need to be encoded as new characters in an upcoming version of the Unicode Standard and ISO/IEC 10646. The final list reflects all known Emoji characters used by the 3 major mobile phone companies in Japan (NTT docomo, KDDI/AU and SoftBank Mobile), excluding the ones that already are encoded in the current Unicode Standard.

The Unicode Standard and ISO 10646 are synchronized in terms of character content, and jointly controlled by the Unicode Consortium and the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 committee. Google and Apple jointly submitted The Emoji Encoding Proposal to the Unicode Consortium and it was formally approved by the Unicode Technical Committee on February 6, 2009. Now this proposal goes to ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 for deliberations and approval as a joint contribution to ISO by the Unicode Consortium and the US national body. The approval by the Unicode Consortium is thus a major milestone toward getting the characters into Unicode. The next SC2/WG2 meeting takes place in late April, 2009 in Dublin, Ireland and the Emoji proposal will be discussed there. We encourage you to read a copy of the proposal submitted to SC2/WG2.

Since we wrote the first blog post on this topic, we have received positive feedback for this proposal. We are both surprised and gratified to learn that there are so many people with a strong interest in Emoji, and we believe that further support from the community will greatly aid in advancing the cause of the Emoji Encoding project.